Five Things we learned from the Star about The Burger’s Priest (including what a “Jarge” is)
After the fanatically venerated indie burger joint The Burger’s Priest netted third place in the 2012 Zagat Survey of Toronto last week (the only budget option in a rather upscale top ten), the Toronto Star published a pair of articles about founder Shant Mardirosian. Mardirosian, an Armenian-American who left L.A. for Toronto in 1984, is a seminary graduate, a burger evangelist, and all-round pretty interesting dude. The five best tidbits we learned, after the jump:
1. The priest thing is no joke
Mardirosian is a seminary graduate who had planned to be a pastoral minister. And just because he opted for burgers over the Bible, that doesn’t mean he’s lost the faith. Of the success of his shop, he says, “I can’t attribute it to anything I’ve done…. I have a lot of faith in God and He told me early on that this place is going to be big.”
2. It’s doing about 4,900 per cent better than Mardirosian thought it would
Mardirosian’s original plan was to find a cut-rate storefront (he got the Queen Street spot off Craigslist for $27,000) and sell about 20 burgers a day. The original location now fills about 400 orders a day, and the bigger, newer Yonge Street location does about 600.
3. The secret menu isn’t a secret (and you’re welcome to add to it)
So-called “secret menu” items like the Vatican City (double cheeseburger with grilled cheese sandwiches for buns), the High Priest (an interpretation of a Big Mac) and Holy Smokes (a double cheeseburger with panko-coated, deep-fried jalapenos) have become food blog lore, but Mardirosian says there’s nothing clandestine about the off-menu items. “We just let customers come in and make up burgers with the ingredients that we have,” he explained. “We always let them name it.”
4. “Jarge” is a cooking method, a person and a sound
To make a “Jarge-style” burger, Mardirosian coats the bottom of a four-ounce ball of ground beef with yellow mustard, then smashes it into the flat-top; once the mustard has cooked into the meat, the patty is topped with fried onion mixed with special sauce. “Jarge” is a nickname for Mardirosian’s friend Rob, and comes from a sound he made once when he was cold in Whistler (your guess is as good as ours).
5. There are more locations in the offing (but don’t expect much more seating)
Real-estate agents are already scouting a third location. No word yet on where, but Mardirosian says it’ll be slightly bigger than the Yonge Street location—as big as he can make it while keeping the cheeseburger at $5.29.
•What’s the secret to success of The Burger’s Priest? [Toronto Star]
•Burger mogul credits divine grace for success of Burger’s Priest
9 thoughts on “Five Things we learned from the Star about The Burger’s Priest (including what a “Jarge” is)”
The new location will be King West. Now you hipsters can relax.
that place is COMPLETELY OVERrATED. i’m sick & tired of hearing about it. tried it TWICE. they failed miserably twice. NEVER again.
wouldnt even put burgers priest in my top 5 of burgers in the city, if you want a real burger try prohibition in leslieville or shakeys in bloor west (fresh Rowe Farm burgers)
however if you are an In n Out Burger fan then you will love burgers priest because of the flat top grease
@Mike: Both Shakey’s and Prohibition serve pub style burgers — very different from the fast food style served at Burger’s Priest. If you don’t like that style, that’s fair, but as far as fast food style burgers go, Burger’s Priest is pretty much as good as it gets.
I had Burger’s Priest on my must visit list but if Micheal’s revelation that they serve “fast food style burgers” is correct why desert my local MacDonalds, Burger King (does a King outrank a Priest) etc. I wonder if Mardirosian would accept Micheal’s compliment?
@WalterP: Burger’s Priest is fast food STYLE, but obviously it is about a zillion times better than places like McDs and BK. Dismissing Burger’s Priest based on that comparison would be like dismissing Sushi Kaji because the sushi stand at your local food court sucks. They serve food in a similar style, but that’s where the comparison ends.
Burger was solid, but nothing to write home about. Agree, Prohibition and especially Shakey’s a stand out in the city
I’m not a “holy roller”, but just sayin’…
In this tolerant and all-inclusive city, I’m waiting for someone to open Shawarma’s Mullah with menu items such as The Ayatollah, The Mecca, The Mujahideen, and the Fatwa. NOT A CHANCE! Christianity is such an easy and passive mark. Look at what Nicki Minaj did at the Grammys. She wouldn’t dare send up the Muslim religion like that and neither would any establishment in Toronto.
@Viki you know that the owner was actually a seminary graduate as this article says right? So obviously hes not going to talk about the The Imam’s burger. And besides it is tolerant an all inclusive but there is always a more common and dominant culture. Besides if you ever went to a Muslim country or Israel or anything do you think they would be as accepting of Christian customs as Torontians are of other cultures? No.Not even close, you either conform or get in problems.
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