Sometimes naming a restaurant takes days or weeks of careful deliberation. Sometimes a name is just obvious. I mean, if you want to open a burger place in the Ottawa neighbourhood of Hintonburg, you really only have one choice; Hintonburger. Now this makes me wonder what other burgers concepts would have obvious names:
1. Spielburgers- Splashy burgers with great stories and specials effects including the Jaws, Ketchup Me if you Can, the Hamistad and the Empire of the Bun.
2. Samburgers- Featuring the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatball Sub and the Brooklyn Nine-Nine (the traditional burger for under $10). Noticeable absence of any reference on the menu to “That’s my Boy” or “Grown-ups 2”.
3. Wahlburgers- The Wahlburg brothers make even more money by creating a Boston burger empire complete with a reality show featuring Mark’s abs and Donnie’s…..intellect (complete with that pensive look he gets when he’s trying to crack a case on Blue Bloods). Oh wait, that’s been done already.
Hintonburger is housed in an old Kentucky Fried Chicken (in the days before it was shortened to KFC, the Colonel was not a cartoon character and Taco Bell was nowhere in sight). I opened the gold coloured door with the faded handle and entered the small quarters, noticing the only relic of KFC was a crudely painted picture of a red and white bucket sunk halfway in the ground on the far wall. I walked straight ahead to the tiny square hallow which served as the order window. It only made sense to order the Hintonburger combo, complete with fries and a drink for $11.75. The signature burger is 6 oz of meat served with bacon, cheese and signature BBQ sauce and was served with fresh cut fries.
It was pretty busy but we managed to get a seat while we waited the 15 minutes for the food to arrive. In the meantime, I couldn’t help but people watch. The place contained everything from a group of hipsters (what are they called anyway? A herd? hover? A host? A harrass? A hedge? A horde?)*. There was also an old couple that I thought I saw on a grey power commercial once and a table of four guys on lunch break who wore matching uniforms with the reflective outdoor jackets and whose combined weight was slightly more than a Fiat 500.
*- The group terms refer to antelopes/bison, trout, sparrows, horses, herons and gnats respectively. A horde of hipsters…I kinda like that.
The burger arrived in the standard red and white checkered paper. The bacon was abundant, the cheese was melted and the burger was a nice, consistent thickness. It was a wonderful crust which not only flavoured the patty but protected the moisture of the inside. The BBQ sauce was tasty and not overbearing, a cardinal sin of many burgers. The bun had a hard time keeping this messy concoction together. I enjoyed the fries. They were thick and crunchy although a few were a little overdone.
Hintonburger has all the hallmarks of a modern burger bar; cramped quarters, a wait time indicative of a made-to-order burger, a rainbow of patrons and tasty fresh cut fries. It also adds a number of other menu items for non-burger aficionados including pogos, chicken strips, hot dogs and even a couple of vegetarian items. In the end, it’s middle of the pack (or kettle or troubling or parliament) in both taste, price and value which still means it’s pretty good. It sure as hell beats a brood of dirty bird from Scott’s Chicken Villa.