Welcome Burger Lab to Ottawa Street N! Opening a small business can be challenging, but opening a small business in the midst of a global pandemic is definitely no easy feat. For the owners at Burger Lab this was an added challenge that they faced head on and didn’t let it stop them from opening their doors to the community on September 19th. Owner Cem Sam helped open Burger Lab’s Toronto location a few years ago with co-owner Matt Yilmaz. The business saw such success in Toronto in those few short years that the team decided to expand to Hamilton. When asked why Hamilton, Cem says “we were looking for something similar to Toronto, but with a stronger community vibe. The people in Toronto are a bit more disconnected and Hamilton seemed to have a very welcoming feeling.” Matt and Cem moved to Canada from Turkey a little over three years ago, the neighbourhood and culture is very new to them, but they are excited to bring their knowledge and love for food to a new country.
The menu is classic comfort food with a twist. The Beef patties are all made in house by hand from freshly ground 100% striploin beef. They also do fish, chicken and veggie burgers, cheesesteaks and hot dogs. All of the meat is Halal which refers to the Muslim criteria for how food is raised and prepared.
The menu is crafted with serious burger lovers in mind. Looking to indulge? Try the Karma Burger – Beef patty, deep fried chicken thigh, bacon, provolone cheese, roasted peppers grilled onion, tomato, lettuce, chipotle and BBQ sauce. Feeling like something more classic, they are offering a $10 walk in special. That gets you a single patty beef burger, cheddar cheese, tomato, lettuce, pickle and lab sauce, fries and a pop. Looking for a challenge? Cem recommends the Big Bang – Two beef patties, cheddar cheese, crusted portobello mushroom, crusted mozzarella cheese, bacon, guacamole, salsa fresca, tomato, lettuce and smoked chipotle with BBQ sauce served between two grilled cheese buns. You might need some help with that last one!
You can also add a fried chicken poutine to your order, beef nacho fries, a milkshake or a deep-fried mars bar. There are over ten house made sauces to choose from and a ton of additional toppings to make your own burger. Vegetarian? Burger Lab’s got you covered with three different veggie burgers and a veggie dog.
The benefit of opening a restaurant during COVID was that the team was able to designed the space with social distancing in mind. They had to scrap their original plan for a cozy dining space and spread things out offering a more open concept feel for patrons, they will revert back to the original plan when the time is right. Hand sanitizer is available at each table and the takeout counter is well covered with plexiglass barriers. The dine in experience is safe and well thought out. You can also easily walk in for take-out or pre-order pickup or delivery with Uber Eats and Door Dash. The murals on the wall are hand painted by a Toronto artist who is friends of the owners.
When asked what they hope to achieve with their Ottawa Street Location? Cem says “we just want people to give us a chance and to get to know us.” This is a family and friend run operation and to Matt and Cem community is everything.
Looking forward to watching this business grow!
201 Ottawa Street N