You, me, and a jacked-up burger
You’re probably tired of reading about hamburgers, and with due reason. It seems this summer they’re all I write about, so I don’t blame you. But please, dear readers, bear with me one last time, and take comfort in knowing that my burgin’ has given me a wide perspective on the patties our city has to offer.
At the request of yet another mouth I was led to Jack Burger Pub, an alleged dive bar turned hamburger joint not a month old. I’ve known the red bricked house on the corner of Duke and Ontario Street my entire life, parking in the adjacent lot many-a-time, hearing the rabble from within, neon lights glowing without, never having the gall to enter on my own, or even with a friend. But those were different days. Days when Jack Burger was old One Eyed Jack’s, a bar most probably didn’t look twice at. So, why would I?
Well, as a staunch advocate of good, focused menus I was nothing but thrilled when a friend told me to check out Jack’s: a place with three menu options and nothing else. Now, it may not be the focused mastery we want with foodstuff that takes time and effort, like a perfect bowl of ramen, or good cup of coffee, but the dynamic is something I certainly appreciate and wish to support.
Straight and to the point, Jack’s allows its customers to choose from two kinds of patties, vegetarian or meat, or Jack’s 8” hot dog; from there, you have the option of making a myriad of combinations with toppings, some at extra charge, but who’s counting.
There’s also the choice of salads, and cool nostalgic novelties like milk shakes, what Jack’s menu explains as “real” ice cream, and soft drinks in glass bottles. Now, if you know me by now, you know I’d rail against such appeals to a nostalgia most of us reading aren’t even old enough to have experienced; but I won’t in this rare instance, because glass bottled Coke has an appetence different from what we drink out of a can or plastic bottle. Don’t believe me?
Go to Jack’s and shell out the three dollars to try one. Gone is that overbearing carbonated saltiness the kids from Hong Kong go gaga over. Relish in the pungent caramel syrup that sweetens the liquor. Personally, I’m glad I threw my prejudice to the wind this time.
Spoiling myself further I asked for a Jack burger with smoked bacon, blue cheese, and the usual burger fare. All that, and a side of poutine. Then, after a patient 10 minutes, laid in front of me was a fine grained sesame bun stacked with pickles, lettuce, chopped tomatoes (not conventionally sliced), bacon, and a blue cheese that liquefied as it smothered a pale looking patty, not seared like I’d expect.
The first bite shocked me with the pickles’ fruitiness, the rich blue cheese mellowed any sweetness and the chewy demeanor of burger and bun, balanced perfectly in proportion, made the chuck disappear in a matter of minutes, leaving a mess of mustard and ketchup in its wake. It wasn’t the best burger I’ve had, but it certainly was genial enough.
The side of poutine was another story: fries smattered with grains of salt smothered in an even saltier gravy and curds that didn’t melt, even in 30 degree weather. Nothing out of the ordinary, and like so many other poutines this city has to offer. Alone, however, the earthy flavour of the fries was a delight.
Otherwise, I’ve no qualms with Jack’s. If you’re in the neighbourhood, and if you want a burger, there it is, patio, bar, and all.
Location: 45 Duke St. W, Kitchener
Accepted forms of payment: Debit, credit, cash
Hours: 11 a.m. – 2 a.m. (week), 12 p.m. – 12 a.m. (weekend)