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1. Burger's Priest
1636 Queen E, at Coxwell, 647-346-0617, theburgerspriest.com. If you order this Leslieville take-away's entry-level cheeseburger, you'll likely wonder what all the fuss is about. But go for the Double Double - two secret-grind smash-griddled burgers properly dressed with processed cheese on an absorbent white bun of absolutely no provenance - or the not-so-secret Tower of Babel triple-decker and understand the fervour. A religious experience of the culinary kind. Next stop, Yorkville? Other location: 3397 Yonge, 416-488-3510, at Teddington Pk.
Monday to Wednesday 11:30 am to 9:30 pm, Thursday and Friday 11:30 am to 10:30 pm, Saturday noon to 10:30 pm. Closed Sunday, some holidays. Unlicensed. Cash only. Access: barrier-free, no washrooms.
2. Queen & Beaver Public House
35 Elm, at Yonge, 647-347-2712, queenandbeaverpub.ca. Yes, chef Andrew Carter's Q&B burger is appreciably more expensive than the Gale Snack Bar's $1.35 cheeseburger - $15.65 more, to be exact - but it's worth every penny: 6 hand-chopped ounces of top sirloin cap laced with bone marrow on a house-baked bun dressed with house-smoked pork belly bacon and stinky Stilton cheese. Proper chips, too. Honourable mention: the $19 Oxley burger at the gastro-pub's new sister resto in Yorkville.
Lunch Monday to Friday 11:30 am to 3 pm, dinner Monday to Saturday 3 to 11 pm, Sunday 3 to 10 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 10 am to 3 pm. Bar till close. Licensed. Access: five steps at door, washrooms on second floor.
3. Stockyards Smokehouse & Larder
699 St Clair W, at Christie, 416-658-9666, thestockyards.ca. Pit boss Tom Davis gets major props for his Carolina 'cue and southern fried chicken, but his Butter Burger - 6 ounces of smash-griddled beef topped with butter lettuce, compound butter laced with bone marrow and onion rings - has a deserved cult of its own. Prefer the Priest? Check out Davis's Animal Cheeseburger seared in hotdog mustard.
Tuesday to Saturday 9 am to 9 pm. Brunch Saturday and Sunday 9 am to 3 pm, dinner Sunday 4:45 to 8 pm. Closed Monday, holidays. Unlicensed. Access: steep ramp at door, washrooms on same floor.
4. Harbord Room
89 Harbord, at Spadina, 416-962-8989, theharbordroom.com. Now that even Susur Lee does one (as an East-West fusion spring roll, granted), every toque in town seems to have jumped aboard the burger bandwagon. The Room's Cory Vitiello's no different, but his burger certainly is, 8 house-ground ounces of rare brisket on a Fred's bun garnished with sharp aged cheddar, house-smoked bacon cured in Jack Daniel's and grainy Guinness-spiked mustard, a whack o' excellent frites on the side.
Dinner nightly 5:30 to 10:30 pm, late-night menu till midnight Thursday to Saturday. Bar till close. Reservations recommended. Licensed. Access: three steps at door, washrooms in basement.
5. Golden Star
7123 Yonge, at Doncaster, 905-889-6891. Sorry, Harvey's, but this old-school Thornhill drive-in's All-Star Burger Deluxe is truly a beautiful thing: 6 char-grilled ounces of never-frozen Nortown steak correctly dressed with processed cheddar, bacon and house-made barbecue sauce, the lot "run through the garden." Nostalgia rarely gets this delicious.
Daily 10 am to 11 pm. Licensed. Access: one step at door, washrooms on same floor.