Oh Boy! Burger Market, Toronto
When the window poster first appeared on the future site of Oh Boy! Burger Market, it seemed like quite an original addition to a Toronto neighbourhood brimming with bars. Since then, however, we’ve witnessed the opening of everything from Craft Burger to Gourmet Burger Co to Burger Bar to W Burger Bar, all while owner Joey McGuirk (formerly of Betty’s, Atlas Bar and Grill, and Prohibition) was dealing with logistical issues and giving his space a complete renovation.
“The funny thing is, when we first started working on Oh Boy!, none of these places existed yet,” says Joey. “But as long as you’re offering a good product, there’s plenty of room for all of us.” It’s this philosophy that makes Oh Boy! so refreshing. We’re used to hearing that each new burger place makes “the only true gourmet burger in Toronto” or “blows all the other burger places out of the water,” but Joey, a self-proclaimed old-fashioned Irish Maritime lad from Prince Edward Island, instead makes the best burger he can, and puts the rest of his focus on customer service, or as he puts it “treating people the right way.”
Oh Boy! certainly does have more of a welcoming vibe than many hole-in-the-wall burger joints that we’ve seen. In addition to free wifi, the restaurant offers full bar service from 5 pm each night (with 8 beers on tap), stays open until 4 am on weekends, and essentially invites customers to stay as long as they want. The design, co-helmed by Joey McGuirk and Restaurant Makeover‘s Jonathan Furlong combines the familiar bright red colour motif with 80 year old reclaimed pine from Huron County, creating a mix of 50’s diner and PEI “dairy bar”. Meanwhile, kilted “burger babes” offer a different kind of meat and a video jukebox allows customers to play music videos on all of the bar’s televisions.
The restaurant has even implemented the Irish Rule, in which artists don’t have to pay tax (legally, everyone has to pay tax, but they get a 13% discount).
Still, you can treat people like royalty and they still aren’t going to frequent a burger shop if they don’t make a good burger. They’ve taken care of that side of the equation with Premium AAA Wellington County Prime Ground Chuck, Fresh Ace Bakery buns, and sizeable 8 oz patties. According to Joey’s parents if you get good enough meat, then salt and pepper is all you need, and he’s implemented these guidelines. In addition to the classic, the spot also offers a Bison Burger, a Lamb Burger, an Ocean Burger (made from Talapia), and three kinds of Veggie Burger (Grilled, Ground, and Portobello). For Dessert, the spot offers hand-made artisan ice cream from Prince Edward County ingredients, and a Guinness float for the more alcoholically-inclined.
It might not be revolutionary, but if it means less McDonald’s, we’re okay with this whole burger trend.
Address: 571 Queen St W, Toronto, ON
Cuisine: Comfort Food
Area: Queen West
Hours: Sun. to Wed.: 11:00am – 12:00am
Thu. to Sat.: 11:00am – 4:00am
Price Range: $$$ (Within Reach)
Payment: Master Card, Visa, American Express
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