|Photo by Andrew Hockridge|
Date Visited: June 30, 2021
Location: Riverside, ON
BurgerTours Rating: 7.5/10
|Great||Very messy||$11-$15||Restaurant/Bar||Veggie, Patio, Alcohol
Operating as a theater since the early 1900’s, and renovating to a multi-entertainment venue in 1989, the Opera House on Queen St. East has been the main entertainment venue in Riverside and has featured many musical acts, stage plays and other various gigs and parties. So, it was a no brainer to open up a restaurant with a large patio directly beside the music venue. The Opera House Grill is the only restaurant in Riverside to offer Greek cuisine. And apart from Greek food, the reason we had to try this place was because of the Shaggy Burger.
|The Shaggy Burger/Photo by Andrew Hockridge|
The Shaggy burger is one of three burgers listed on the Opera House Grill’s menu. Aside from the traditional 6 oz. burger and a veggie option, the Shaggy burger stands tall amongst the big burgers of the GTA. In 2015, Toronto Life named the Shaggy Burger as one of 25 of the best burgers in Toronto. When we were deciding a burger joint in June of 2021, we were searching for something with a patio, accessible parking and a featured homemade burger. The Opera House Grill was the perfect match for our search.
We arrived just before the dinner rush and there were many tables to choose from. The patio sat alongside the restaurant off of Queen St. and it was an exquisite atmosphere. With quiet music playing, the sound of a TV at the distance and the sound of the streetcar passing by ever so often on Queen St., this venue provides one of the best casual dining experiences I think I’ve ever witnessed. It was joy to behold. Mark and I each glanced at the menu, but there was only one burger that we came here to try. With our orders taken, we patiently waited roughly 20-30 minutes for the Shaggy burger to be made.
The waitress brought out our towering burgers and placed them in front of us and I was in awe. This was going to be a mouthful. The Shaggy burger came loaded with a six-ounce grilled beef patty with tzatziki, bacon, cheddar, fried onions, pickles, lettuce, tomato and giant onion rings. If there ever was a time to satisfy our hunger for burgers, this was it. I wrapped both my hands between the colossus buns and opened my mouth wide to take my first bite. I tried to get every flavor on the burger but it was very difficult.
This burger was almost like a masterpiece. The meat was cooked just right and the toppings were just the right amount. It tasted a little salty, not to tangy but succulent and tender. Because of the weight of the burger, it was already starting to crumble within my hands. And maybe the best option was to cut it up into smaller pieces, but I withheld. It was a really good tasting burger and it was something that took my craving to the next level.
Overall, the Shaggy burger is one of my favorites in Riverside and maybe even in my top 25 favorites in Toronto. The only negative thing about the Shaggy burger was that the toppings looked like they were just thrown on to the burger, and didn’t really have a flow to the flavor of the burger. What I mean is that the toppings (onions, lettuce) really stood out maybe just a little too much, and I would have loved to have more of the meat. Overall, it wasn’t a bad burger by any means, but sometimes the burger should have a certain balance between the toppings and the meat.
We’re back in the neighborhood of Riverside where we take you the Opera House. Down the street from the Broadview Hotel, this joint is connected to the Opera House Concert hall where its become a staple for concert-goers to grab a bite after live events. A local favorite and the only restaurant to offer Greek food in Riverside, I was excited to see what they had to offer.
They only had three burgers on their menu: a regular burger, a veggie burger, and the Shaggy burger. I was craving something big and meaty for this tour and opted out of my usual veggie burger, and went for the Shaggy burger- 6oz. Beef patty topped with tzatziki, bacon, cheddar cheese, fried onions, and onion rings. This has also been listed as one of Toronto’s top 25 burgers. Being put on a high pedestal, I was expecting nothing but perfection from this burger.
|The Shaggy Burger/Photo by Mark Avila|
When it was placed in front of me I was taken aback by how stacked this burger was.. it was towering! I usually don’t eat a burger with a fork and knife, but this was an exception. I had to press down on the bun to a decent size so it could fit in my mouth. No easy task, but hearing the crunch and seeing all the juices flow out was enough to make my tastebuds salivate.
The beef patty was crispy, the pickles and caramelized onions gave it a good balance of sweet and salty, and the onion rings gave it an extra touch of crunch and flavour. Everything complimented together so well, that I can’t really point out any flaws. If I were to nitpick on anything, probably just the size of the burger was a bit overwhelming.
Overall, I enjoyed every bite and understand why its one of the top 25 burgers in Toronto. It’s as close to perfection as any burger will get. I was hoping the burger selection to be more larger and diverse, but I guess keeping it limited helped to highlight the Shag Burger. Definitely a must have if you’re craving a nice juicy and filling burger in Riverdale!