Burger Baron. Paula E. Kirman
11068 95 Street
In the ever-changing world of Edmonton’s food industry, there exists an unsung hero – a quiet gem at the heart of the city – that has stayed the course and survived since perhaps the dawn of time. In fact, this restaurant is so resilient that if the world converted to the scenario depicted in Road Warrior overnight, none other than Burger Baron would effectively champion as the single greatest dining spot of choice. The restaurants have effectively ingrained themselves as one of the many fixtures that define the urban setting, becoming something everyone is familiar with and yet knows nothing about – kind of like the spray-painted “New and Used Tires” van on 101 Street.
Although this may seem a bit of an insult, it’s rather quite the opposite. In the current world of digital media, fast food restaurants have utilized aggressive marketing campaigns – or, Mc-media – allowing brands with money to conveniently transform into any seemingly profitable identity. This quality is perhaps most evident with McDonald’s since it has become the first fast food chain to market high concentrations of saturated fat to Generation Y, but in the form of hipster chic.
Nevertheless, as an important (and delicious) contrast, Burger Barons are an important anchor to reality – one bite at a time. The franchise embodies a truthful essence that can’t be ignored because every manner of its visage testifies to the restaurant’s integrity in that there is no hiding it’s fast food nature: from the crumbling paint to the unintelligible voice emanating from the blown out speaker sitting atop the menu box. But most importantly, the food never disappoints.
The Burger Baron franchise first began with a bright future marked by promise and hope, paving the way as the first chain in Western Canada to strategically implement the drive through model within fast food dining (as stated on Wikipedia). However, these were simpler times. Bygone is the era when a man could successfully slap a piece of pineapple between a patty and bun, and take pride in its exotic and mysterious appeal: as the competition burgeoned and American brands infiltrated the Canadian market, Burger Baron just couldn’t keep its momentum and secure a power position at the height of the 1960s burger boom.
Today, the chain “soldiers on” comprising the landscape and pleasing customers with all but forgotten menu items such as: corn fritters, mozza sticks, and of course its famous burger selections: the Teriyaki, Salisbury, and most importantly, great Canadian Burger (the secret ingredient is ham). At the McCauley location specifically, the dining model is primarily a drive through experience. This function works well, uniquely allowing for time to build the anticipation for each savory meal. And as for the food itself, there is no better location in town for deep-fried mushrooms and each course pairs well with your choice of stock cola.
Though they missed the grandeur and affluence achieved by other chains, Burger Baron has survived by attrition demonstrating an odd sense of cunning and uniqueness that could have just as easily been a tactic penned by Art of War author Sun Tzu himself. But as another way of looking at it: with all the 2012 doomsday talk, Burger Barons prove cheaper than a bomb shelter and just as durable a fortification to weather out any storm or nuclear holocaust – and the tantalizing menu is just the pineapple on the bun!
Kody recently moved to McCauley.