Takeaway Tales: Is the Burger’s Priest’s bacon double cheeseburger as good at home as in the restaurant?
Thanks to a flood of food delivery apps, it’s now easier than ever for the hungry and housebound to order almost any dish from almost any restaurant. But just because you can order something, should you? We’re taste-testing some of the most popular cravings in town to see how the entrees hold up, and how the at-home version compares to the dining-in experience. Along the way, we’re test-driving the apps that bring the dishes to your door. Next up:
What were we in the mood for?
A bacon double cheeseburger and fries from The Burger’s Priest. Since launching in 2010, the little shop that simplified the way Toronto eats burgers has grown into a chain, serving griddle-smashed beef at 14 locations across Canada.
What’s the food like at the restaurant?
Each element is in harmony: the beef patties are crispy on top and squirt hot fat from the centre; the toasty bun has the squish of a long-loved teddy bear; the lettuce is still cool and crisp; the chewy bacon hangs from the sandwich’s edge like a happy dog’s tongue on a hot day. The fries are hot, golden and crispy.
Sold. Now, how was the app’s selection and ordering process?
The first step is to enter your delivery address, which will return a list of nearby participating restaurants. (Availability changes based on where you’re located.) What appears is a screen clogged with sponsored listings for places like Pizza Rustica, I Love Sushi and Pickle Barrel. With all due respect, I’ve written about food for 10 years and I’ve never heard someone describe a craving for Pickle Barrel’s chicken fingers. While Just Eats is transparent about its sponsored posts, all the apps are likely doing a version of the same thing. According to a salesperson who has worked for multiple meal-delivery companies, the apps push users toward restaurants that have higher sales commissions. Few restaurants are exclusive to any one app. Burger’s Priest, owing to its popularity, is ubiquitous. Before selecting your order, JustEats prompts you to tip up front. (Others make the ask at check-out, or after the order has been delivered.)
How long does delivery take?
The estimate was 29 minutes. You’ll receive a text message with a link to a map showing the location of the driver, the restaurant and the delivery address. Unlike several of its competitors, the map tracking isn’t live, and you must reload the page to see where the car is. After 30 minutes, the pickup vehicle had switched, with a new estimate of 22 minutes. In total, it took an hour. After the driver has already handed me the bag, a text from the app told me that my order would be arriving soon, and that I should be ready at my door.
Finally. So how does the delivery version of the food compare?
A burger, its elements balanced in stoichiometric perfection, transforms into something else when wrapped in wax paper for 30 minutes. I’m not saying that it turns from coal to a diamond, but the spherical, burger-flavoured lump that arrived had a pleasure all its own, the distinct ingredients fused into a solid object. Like food from a cartoon, it seemed to have no mass and no centre. I wish I could eat 100 of these.
The fries were another story. While we have cloned sheep and detected signs of oxygen 13 billion light years from earth, science has still not found a method for transporting fries that preserves both their heat and crispness. So it’s no surprise that the fries arrived in a doughy clump. But I didn’t mind. Sure, in the time it took for the meal to arrive, I could have sliced, blanched and fried potatoes in boiling oil for maximum crispness. But I got what I paid for, which was not so much fries as the anticipation of fries.
How much did it cost?
$19.51 with tax and tip at Burger’s Priest; $25.86 with delivery fee, tax and tip through Just Eat.
The takeaway: is it worth ordering at home?
No one can reasonably expect delivery fries to be crispy, so here’s a life hack for ordering Burger’s Priest at home: skip the fries and just order two burgers. And hope the service you choose does a better job of making good on its delivery timetable.
Burger’s Priest is available through JustEat, Foodora, UberEats and Doordash.