On Friday at lunch, I traveled over to Beech Street which is nearby Little Italy to investigate one of Ottawa's newest, yet already receiving a lot of buzz, burger place. Beech St. Burger (40 Beech Street, Ottawa) replaced Danni Panini near the corner of Beech & Rochester. In fact, Beech St. Burger is so new, the debit machine is still printed and, presumably, registered to Danni Panini. Will Beech St. Burger survive the evolving Ottawa burger wars amongst Five Guys Burgers & Fries, Hintonburger, The Works and Manhattan's?
I visited at 11:45 A.M. to see two people ahead of me in line in this small restaurant. The restaurant, about the same size as Hintonburger, is staffed by what appeared to be a husband and wife. Thus, it felt family owned. Unlike Hintonburger, the kitchen is open concept which means you can see your burger hitting the grill and your fries being made. Perhaps this made the wait for your meal a little more palatable than Hintonburger where you feel like your order disappeared behind a wall only to magically reappear hopefully 15 to 20 minutes later. Beech Street burger though, only took about 10 minutes to have everything prepped and served up. But first the order.
After waiting 2 minutes for the customers in front to move along, I was warmly greeted by a lady inquiring what I would like. I ordered.
The Order: 1 Beech Street Burger (1 Double Pattied Burger) with Beech Street Size Fries (Large Fries) and a Coke.
My order was moved along to the grill where a large man pulled out two patties and put it on the grill. I watched as the patties started to cook. But I also had to ensure I stayed out of the way of the increasing customer traffic from ordering, attending the fountain drink machine and gathered their orders from the front. Not a lot of room to maneuver near the counter but if everyone cooperates it isn't too bad. Eventually my, advertised "Handmade, local beef burgers"and "Fresh Cut Fries" were ready for pickup in a traditional slightly greased stained burger joint brown paper. I filled my cup with Coke from the fountain station and headed outside to the street side patio to open my bag and dig in.
The burger was awesome! Similar to Five Guys Burger and Fries in taste and freshness. Juicy but not "Call the Health Department" pink juicy. Were the patties handmade as advertised? Hard to say, but with the high number of customers coming through the door, it would be hard to keep up with demand by handmaking the burgers. But I will not discount the "Handmade Burgers" claim as I don't have any evidence but a little skepticism of the above noted demand for their product.
The toppings were average tomatoes, lettuce etc. you would find at any other joint. Thus the $7.00 price for the burger alone seemed a little steep but is a just a little more expensive than the same burger at Five Guys at $6.50.
The "Fresh Cut Fries" were interesting. Not as greasy as Five Guys Burgers and Fries but not much different, except for perhaps the salt content, from New York Fries. Decent offering tastewise but quantity wise on the Beech Street Size (i.e. large fries) Five Guys give you more but also charges more. But the quantity at Beech Street is about the same as at Le Bac A Frites for a similar price at $4.00.
Overall, Beech St Burger provides solid burger and fries taste wise. Dollar wise at $13 and change for a burger, fries and a fountain soft drink it is expensive. If the price was around $10 I may mark this place as a favourite though. Good spot to visit once in a while but not all the time.
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