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Kingston’s Burger/Poutine Wars

Smoke's PoutineThe vacancies along Princess Street seem to be clearing up lately, and so goes the ebb and flow of prosperity for small businesses. Within the restaurant sector, the past few years have been dominated by a flurry of new sushi spots. From Sushi Ya to Asha, Sima, Ta-ke and all the rest, downtown Kingston is flush with fresh sashimi and sushi. While many of these places have managed to survive thus far, the local restaurant scene is about to receive four new competitors, all of which specialize in either burgers or poutine.  Smoke’s Poutinerie (181 Division), the Poutine Place (343 Princess), Five Guys Burgers and Fries (185 Princess) and Harper’s (98 Princess) are all making final preparations to open up shop and go fork to fork for poutine and burger supremacy in the Limestone City.  Accordingly, this week’s poll question asks:

Which poutine or burger resto are you most excited about?

  • Smoke's Poutinerie (209%, 46 Votes)
  • Five Guys Burgers and Fries (145%, 32 Votes)
  • Harper's (136%, 30 Votes)
  • Undecided (100%, 22 Votes)
  • Poutine Place (9%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 132

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To be honest, I know very little about any of these new places, save for what I’ve gleaned from friends in other cities, and folks within the restaurant biz here in Kingston.  Smoke’s boasts over 20 varieties of poutine and they’ve established a bit of a cult following thanks to locations in Toronto, Ottawa and Tremblant. The sign in the window at the Poutine Place advertises a strange mix of organic burgers, poutine and fruit smoothies. From what I can tell, Five Guys Burgers and Fries is a relatively large chain, with numerous locations throughout the US, and some newer locations springing up throughout Canada.  Last but not least, Harper’s is brought to you by the same minds who opened up Le Chien Noir and Atomica, while it is expected to offer gourmet burgers and premium draught.

Thanks to Sifu Renka for today’s photo.

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Harvey Kirkpatrick

Harvey Kirkpatrick is Kingstonist's Co-Founder. His features curiously explore urban planning, what if scenarios, the local food scene and notable Kingstonians. Loves playing tourist and listening to rap music. Learn more about Harvey...

76 thoughts on “Kingston’s Burger/Poutine Wars

  • August 16, 2010 at 10:01 am
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    Smoke's will be grand. I drove round last night looking for good poutine after Fran's had closed, sad.
    But I am also very excited for Five Guys, absolutely love it in DC.

  • August 16, 2010 at 10:52 am
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    I also think it will be hard for any of these to shake the foothold Bubba’s has on awesome Poutine. I will definitely be trying each of these as they open.

    Curtis Corcoran

    @linkkoriri

    • August 16, 2010 at 2:03 pm
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      Bubba's is a definite institution in Kingston, and their downtown locations are always busy after the bars let out. I don't expect that to change, however I forsee Smokes taking away some of their business. Having never tried any of the new places, I am definitely going to gradually make the rounds and see if any of these are worthy of challenging Bubba's for the throne. That said, I don't think Kingston can support this many burger/poutine places. Expect at least one will close soon after the first year of business.

  • August 16, 2010 at 2:19 pm
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    I had a super incredible disappointing experience at Smoke's in Toronto last year–their vegetarian gravy paled in comparison to other veg gravies I've had over the years (Elgin Street Diner in Ottawa, you have my heart). But maybe the Kingston franchise will be different (and hopefully it'll be less packed with Toronto hipsters).

  • August 16, 2010 at 2:28 pm
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    …I'm also still mourning the loss of Franconi's, who made not only my favourite pizza in town, but also my favourite poutine, delivered right to my front door. now that was service.

    • August 16, 2010 at 4:01 pm
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      Franconi's gone already ?? too bad, many people raved about their pizza

    • August 19, 2010 at 1:00 pm
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      Franconi's is now a bit of a mystical unicorn in that I had heard so much about it, but failed to take a ride when the opportunity presented itself. Now that it's gone, I'll never know how good it really was.

  • August 16, 2010 at 4:00 pm
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    I've heard good things about Five Guys / too bad they couldn't be in the upper 300 Princess Street area for maximum exposure and walk-in traffic

  • August 16, 2010 at 4:49 pm
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    With the sterling track record of Atomica and Chien Noir I am definitely expecting great things from Harper's… A really unfortunate choice for a name though…. anything related to Steven tends to turn my stomach..

  • August 17, 2010 at 2:03 pm
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    Five Guys was named best burger in America yesterday on the Today Show by Tim Zagat of the Zagat restaurant poll.

    • August 19, 2010 at 7:02 pm
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      The same survey found McDonalds had the best fries so… .

      CNBC had a segment on these fast growing burger places, apparently the hottest segment in the restaurant industry now. Guest picked 5 guys his least favorite burger from them, smash burger and another I hadn't heard of.

      Not much of a menu, http://www.fiveguys.com/menu.aspx Veggie dog but no burger pfft.

  • August 19, 2010 at 9:52 am
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    Smokes, Super excited. Had the Hog town in Hog town. Sooooo Good.
    Looking forward to harpers. Somewhere where I can get a real quality beef patty Medium rare with blue cheese. Gourmet burgers. It's about time.
    Five guys, sure for a cheap greasy meal.
    The other one, well it seems to me like it's going to be "the other one'

  • August 19, 2010 at 10:10 am
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    Personally I do not think Bubbas has the best poutine in Kingston. For the past umpteen times I have had one, the fries were undercooked and the gravy was somewhat watery.. I keep trying them at both locations downtown because I want to experience what everyone talks about.. but that has yet to happen. I'm glad that there are 4 new restaurants opening that will specialize in poutines as they are my favourite food. Some chip trucks in the area actually sport awesome poutines and as of right now, the one on John Counter near Division has the best on in my opinion.

    • August 19, 2010 at 10:30 am
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      Changing locations is one way to get the full Bubba's experience, but I think the folks who rave about this place have one other card up their sleeve. Drunkenness is essential to the overall quality of Bubba's, which is to say that your experience will be terrible if you are stone cold sober.

    • August 19, 2010 at 12:13 pm
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      Bubba's doesn't really do anything special when it comes to poutine; for them it's about location, price and speed of service when the rush hits. They can put a large poutine into a drunk person's hand inside 60 seconds of ordering, and that is something not even McDonalds can do with their hamburgers at 2am.

      It's more about satisfying the craving than feeding people a quality product, and it's not as if 95% of the drunken people ordering a poutine at 2am would even care to know the difference, the state they would be in.

      I am very curious to see what "5 guys" will be like. I love the idea of a place that focuses purely on burgers and fries, and maybe, just maybe, they can back up all of the hype. An affordable, yet decent, fast food burger point downtown!

      Have to echo the optimism for Harpers, since Atomica and Chien Noir are two shining examples of professionally run restaurants downtown, and there is no reason to think Harpers will be otherwise.

  • August 19, 2010 at 8:40 pm
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    Where is 5 Guys supposed to be located? Cause I went by where I thought it was going to be (in the old Copy Express I think) and it said that Therapy was opening soon. You know, the over priced clothing store geared at Queen's students who will pay $250 for a pair of jeans – it's currently down near What'll I Wear and Diva.

    • August 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm
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      The address is listed for the new Five Guys location. It will go where the old Dollar Club used to be, just down from Princess and Montreal.

    • August 21, 2010 at 2:56 pm
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      5 guys is still just drywall today. The Crepe place is open, customers in there the few times I was by. I'll be surprised if crepe specific is viable in what must be an expensive location.

  • August 21, 2010 at 12:31 pm
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    5 Guys is the In-N-Out Burger of the East Coast. Pretty simple menu….but a great place and they fry the potatoes in peanut oil. From Washington DC area….

    • August 24, 2010 at 10:43 am
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      Let's not go saying things we don't mean. I love 5 Guys and it will be my favourite burger joint in Kingston.
      But my god In-N-Out is to die for!

  • August 24, 2010 at 3:32 pm
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    yipee for Five Guys! They have fantastic burgers! Yummy! My mouth is watering already….

  • August 30, 2010 at 1:33 am
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    I notice that Vinny's Italian Sanwiches has changed to Vinny's Burger's and Fries.
    I really enjoyed Vinnys when tehy opened. Quality and service went downhill.
    I did not really have an issue paying for toppings but it became expensive once you wanted to top it up.
    This became obvious for most people as they changed to free toppings.
    here are a few tips for when you reopen 1) If you advertise fresh rolls -USE FRESH ROLLS. 2) If there is a customer waiting to order – STOP TALKING TO YOUR FREINDS. After a few minuites of being ignored i left never to return. Because of some bad experiences , I will try one of the many new places opening up. Five Guys did get good reveiws

    • April 6, 2011 at 12:44 am
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      I'm sorry to hear that you had such a horrible time at Vinny's when it served Italian sanwiches. I am an Employee there that started when they made the switch to burgers and have been working there for over six months now. I assure you that everything has changed when it comes to toppings, condiments, the quality of the food and ECPECIALLY The Customer Service. I invite you to come in and try our new Burgers! As of now we have a Sirloin Burger, A home burger, 6oz. And a Rib Eye, AAA, Steak Sandwich, Topped with Fried Onions (Your choice) and a Garlic Toasted Bun, that is just to die for! So I invite you to come back, Try out our new Gravy, seasonings, burgers and experiance exceptional customer service. You will have our Full attention. Again, I am so sorry for the rudenss you experiances with the last staff.

      Oh, and By the way. Fresh rolls all the way, baby!

      • April 8, 2011 at 10:27 am
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        I also had a bad experience with the staff at Vinny's (back when it was new. The guy working at the counter was rude and more interested in his laptop (!) at the front counter than service. The young woman working the grill area was very polite though.

        Food was good, but service was terrible.

  • August 31, 2010 at 7:31 pm
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    I am very eager to eat at Harper's!!! The owner is a serious foodie and I love the ideas they have!

  • September 11, 2010 at 5:41 pm
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    Is Harper's, Smoke's or Five Guys open yet? I went by last week and was surprised that none of the three were open at the start of September… seems like they're missing out on some serious bar and dinner crowds with the students returned to town on both sides of the Causeway and at St. L….

    • September 11, 2010 at 8:09 pm
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      To the best of my knowledge, none of them are open yet. I believe Smokes said end of Sept, but I'm not certain. No idea as to when the rest will be turning on their deep fryers.

      • September 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm
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        I've heard, via a very solid source, Smokes has a target date of Sept 21 as a Grand Opening, which will be tight it would seem. We drove by tonight looks like there's lots of activity; lights, camera, poutine! Let's hope they hit the target. Pop Shoppe and late night poutine…BYOD(defibrillator)! Kingston's poutine scene has been changed forever.

  • September 27, 2010 at 11:49 am
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    Five Guys!! Hooray!! I never fail to visit them when I am in D.C. FINALLY we get them here *when will they open?* I used to root for "Backyard Burgers* to open here but, they have gone somewhat downhill. Five Guys has NOT, hurry up Five Guys!

  • October 8, 2010 at 1:46 am
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    HARPER'S IS OPEN! Was pretty darn busy when I went tonight. I liked my Lambic Framboise Beer with Chocolate Ice Cream float…

    • October 8, 2010 at 5:06 am
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      Friends who've been said it was pretty special. Floats were mentioned, as well as other inventive, alcohol laced milkshakes. I cannot wait to try it out. How were the burgers though? Review to follow?

      • October 8, 2010 at 7:41 am
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        I liked the burger that I had. The Umami burger (named after the Japanese term for the 5th theoretical taste, after sweet, salty, sour, and bitter) was pretty satsifying. For an opening week, I think they've done a great job making their product presentable, though it could still use a bit of polish. I'll write a formal review after I've gone a few times. I've been burned recently on a post I wrote about Cafe Le Matin because I had only been the one time and liked it enough to recommend it, only to find out how inconsistent it was.

        • October 9, 2010 at 7:39 am
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          Hmm. We went on Thursday night. It looks nice (as you would expect), they have good range of drinks, and the contents of the burgers were excellent. There were, however, a couple of problems. Firstly, the buns: which seemed to disintegrate at the slightest touch and were certainly nowhere near the same quality as the fillings. They need firmer buns (who doesn't, eh?). And secondly, the price: for the $9-12 for your burger, you would expect to get fries, but they are about $4 extra, and for that price all you get is some pretty average fries, nothing special. The service was also friendly but a little disorganized and the registers didn't seem to work properly but you expect that in the first week.

          • October 9, 2010 at 7:46 am
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            The prices are to be expectd. This place was brought to you by the same minds behind other, pricier dining options including Atomica, Le Chien Noir and The Iron Duke. It's not another fast food production by the Colonel, the King or the Clown. I'm going to stay away for the time being, to give them proper amount of time to get their operation running smoothly. I am so excited to try it out though! Can't wait.

          • October 9, 2010 at 7:59 am
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            I know. But these are burgers we are talking about, albeit 'posh' ones. If you look at equivalent places that do 'posh' burgers (and a lot of good restaurants in town do at least one), I am not sure this is such good value. Even Pan Chancho's, usually the most expensive for such things, is about $13 with sides. I'm not saying Harper's isn't good, I just think that they haven't got the price : value ratio right yet (mind you, I don't think Le Chien Noir has either).

          • October 9, 2010 at 9:55 am
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            I'm going to have to agree on this one. That does sound pricey, no matter how fancy the burger might be – it's still a burger. Le Chien Noir is also somewhat overpriced. In fact, I used to frequent the place almost bi-monthly but when they took away the prix-fixe (salad, main course and dessert for $28!) the price for the exact same meal went up by a good $15-20. Not to say I'm not anxious to give Harper's a try but it sounds like it might be a novelty that I will only indulge in occasionally.

          • October 9, 2010 at 3:26 pm
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            $4 for fries is a bit of a price-gouge when you don't get any with the burger. It's not like making fries costs much, and almost anyone ordering a burger will want them.

            I am looking forward to trying Harpers though. For the moment, the best burger I have had in town is still Olivea's "Olivea Burger". It's $13, but at least you get some delicious soup to go with it.

            Just Five Guys left to open, they must be getting close. Poutine Place is open now, no word on it yet. I went to Smokes last night with a buddy and the poutine there looks incredible, and while pricey compared with Bubba's, it's a different league when it comes to ingredients.

            I really didn't care for the burger I had at Vinny's. It was not very good at all. Not even at the low price they charge for it. Greasy as hell, heavy, not the right taste, and the texture was bizarre, not burger-like at all.

          • October 10, 2010 at 6:13 am
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            I might've seen you on Thursday night! I was there too! Simple fries or coleslaw are 2.5, a poutine was 4.5. The most expensive burger is 12, cheapest is 9 so if you get a basic burger with fries, you are looking at 11.5 which is quite reasonable.

            The mo meaty burger at Pan Chancho's (in my opinion) is nothing to write home about. It is tiny (best guess is 4-5oz), super dry, and the bread to burger ratio is heavy in favour of bread (albeit very nice bread). Even with the bluecheese and applesmoked bacon… I really don't like it too much.

            Agree that the fries at Harper's are average. I'd even go as far as to say they are bad. They are not particularly crispy, droopy, and salted very heavily. Poutine was even worse. The burger I had was quite good though.

      • October 11, 2010 at 11:15 pm
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        Had the basic burger, with cheese, and fries as take-out.

        Came in a box, some of the burger toppings were not on the burger, rather on the side. Burger = ultra tasty, fries were ok. Shoestring isn't my favourite fry size.

        Portions are WAY TOO SMALL for fat guys like me. May have to hit up the 1500 calorie offerings @ Five Guys, should it ever open.

        Issue: no take-out over the phone and no where to wait. I'm a huge fan of phoning in orders.
        Issue: no organic beef that night

        Conclusion: Good burgers, need to eat 2 of them, will be nice to hit up the in house service soon (but will be $$$).

  • October 11, 2010 at 5:26 pm
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    I didi try Harpers as well. It was pricey and the extra for hot pepper and mushrrom resulted in small quantities. It was an excellent burger though. The price point could be the same thing that killed Vinny 1.0 . good sandwiches toppings extra V1.1 toppings included V1.2 dropped prices. This required an update to V2.0. As for Vinny V2.0 It has that strange texture like Harvey's… Gee they even copy the topping section like Harvey's as well. With 5 guys opening down the road, I do not think they gave it any thought. . Will there be Vinny 3.0

  • October 12, 2010 at 11:44 am
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    Harpers was quite tasty but VERY expensive… I think I forked out $16 for a veggie burger, fries and coke… the food was great but I won't be in there too often with prices like that.

    I do appreciate the beer selection though. Almost worth checking out just for the combination of burger and beer you can get there. Beau's is a great beer although its $10/bottle in the restaurant vs $14 for 4 bottles at the LCBO.

  • October 15, 2010 at 7:14 pm
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    I ate at harper's and had a horrible experience… so have many of my friends who have tried the place out. As we are all in the restaurant business we expected much more especially as they own chien and atomica. Poutine is not made with hand cut fries which is ridiculous when you are paying 6 or 8 bucks. It was served in a stainless steel bowl, which would tip every time you went to get a bite. The gravy tasted like instant , runny and salty which was also disappointing….. The burger my bf had was dry and in my opinion not worth 11 dollars and his side of onion rings which cost an additional 3.50 was very small (maybe 10 rings)

    • October 16, 2010 at 12:28 am
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      The poutine is $4.50, not 6-8$. I agree that the bowl tips over pretty easily. I've been twice now. They are working out their kinks which I appreciate.

    • October 16, 2010 at 4:50 pm
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      The fries are handcut I was assured so. And since you are in the restaurant business you should know that any new spot needs time to work things out. You should also know that trashing a new place online only serves to hurt your fellow service industry staff peers. I have been 3 times and it was far better the third so they are improving. Besides where do you work? Is it perfect? And by the way I had heard nothing but good things about Harper's until I found this forum.

      • October 16, 2010 at 7:28 pm
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        Fully agree with what you're saying here. I've made the mistake of visiting and reviewing new places way to early, and suffered as a result. My early reviews were either tainted by operational or product deficincies that most mature restos would have solved over time. I see the comments to this thread as a preliminary cut of what's right and wrong with a place that I have very high hopes for. I am very much looking forward to my first trip there in the coming weeks, and a proper review in the future.

  • October 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm
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    harpers was amazing, def worth it. great service, wonderful atmophere, delicious burgers

  • October 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm
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    So tried Harper's on this rainy miserable day.
    First thing's first, it is expensive, but try to think of it as closer to Chien Noir than your typical burger place.
    It's basically my favourite things about Chien mixed with my favourite burger bars in Vancouver (Moderne and Feenie's while it lasted).
    Fries are deffo handcut and identical to Chien's, did not try the poutine as my loyalties right now lie with Smoke's and it's deliciousness.
    Burger was nicely done, easily outdoes Chien's and Pan Chancho's in my view, I went with the beef (medium, tender and juicy) with white bun (soft, nice sheen, reminiscent of Heston Blumenthal's ultimate burger) Word of caution, a 1000 Islands style special sauce comes on, unbeknownst to me, but was a nice addition).

    With what I said about cost, I see this filling a great void in Kingston's quality (read: more costly) casual (read: fun food) restaurant selection. It will absolutely survive alongside Five Guys (for which I have a great deal of affection) because the two are completely different animals. Also worth noting is some pretty neat other items, I've tried two of the desserts (Cheesecake and Donuts) and they are outstanding, more my speed than the desserts and Chien and Atomica. Will soon try the fried chicken dinner (avail at supper time only).

    Lunch time (till 1630) features a burger, fries and a pop for $10, which come on, is starting to get into the price range of an Angus Burger meal at McDos (okay with tax).

    Open till 2200 on Sundays and midnight the rest of the time, my wallet and weight will likely suffer for the next little while, but my tastebuds certainly won't.

  • November 14, 2010 at 6:21 pm
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    Five Guys has arrived.
    And as I sit down to write this, I find myself wishing that I was a reviewer of salads or green beans, why have I chosen such vices? Onwards.
    Early returns seem to be very favourable, the place was packed for dinner time on their opening Sunday. Perhaps like viewership for Conan, it is a first night smash hit and only time will tell on its success. The one warning, pleading, begging for the people of Kingston, cadets and Gaels (who were out in force) especially, for the love of God, excercise some moderation with these delicious but deadly options.

    A word of caution, the price will undoubtably be a sticking point. Yes, this burger is better than traditional fast food, but even then, a cheeseburger combo type situtation reaches into the $13 range. For me, the quality (and portions) make it worth it, but there will be a segment of the burger eating population that will choose to spend a little more for Harper's or a little less for Wendy's (or a lot less for Vinny's, sigh).

    Through either an error or the fact that my order took seven minutes (a kitchen supervisor trying to light a fire under the bum of his subordinates shouting times on orders), my cheeseburger turned into a double cheeseburger, fortuitous maybe, but I suspect my hockey game tonight may suffer. The toppings are simple and fresh tasting, you'll note in pictures that the burger ends up being quite tall, this is due in most past to the white crunchy part of the lettuce propping it up, I've yet to see a FG burger that has the greener leafs. The cheese is a whiter American cheese type deal, which speaks to the fact that no bones about it, this is an American meal, no poutine at this spot! The beef is the star in this burger, part due to the fact that it is outstanding and tastes of a thicker version of a Webers burger (truly the humble star of the Ontario burger scene), but also part due to the averageness of the seseme bun. That was always the thing keeping this meal from the heights of In N Out in my top American burger race. In a town of boring beef though (who do I have to pay off to get a Hy's here?), this patty is just what the doctor ordered.

    The peanut oil cooked fries are a fine effort, though my preference is for a skinless fry, this one comes up in the NY Fries catagory, but what a portion! My regular fry was quite big (similar again to NY Fries big cups 'o fry) and again due to either the seven minutes or sheer chance, the fry guy dumped about 100% more into my bag.

    A note though, this is the American burger experience, and while I'm not sure of the origin of the beef, the potatoes are definitely from the States (Blue Sky in Washington as the white board indicated). Locavores will be saddened by this, though from the FG HQ perspective, it is understandable. Though they should note, that Ruth's Chris of Alberta has taken to offering both USDA Prime and Alberta beef on their menu despite the mothership's insistance that US beef is better (Morton's did not make the same allowance and lo and behold, closed in Vancouver).

    So there you have it, a patty that I will continue to crave (though I'll stick to the meat/bun ratio of the single next time). Who knows if I will revisit the fries, I tend to only go for fries if they are 90% or above in my books (Smoke's, Chez Piggy and others) and otherwise, why fill up on the fat? The burger is a fine addition to Kingston and I do think and hope, it will stay a nice long time.

    Bravo Five Guys.

    • November 15, 2010 at 7:29 am
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      Thanks for the awesome review. I am very intrigued to try out Five Guys, what with all the awards and accolades they've earned. Still though, the price is a bit of a sticky point. I've no problem paying a bit more for a good burger, but the atmosphere inside screams fast food. At least with Harpers you get a non-fast food experience. I know I'm not going to these places to eat the wallpaper, but even McDonald's and BK have flatscreen televisions nowadays.

  • November 15, 2010 at 1:28 pm
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    I just came from 5 Guys. The burger was excellent. I did have to wait but a) it was noon and b) it was fresh. Also waiting is a good thing. As for price ( oz for oz i think it could be same as Mc Donalds Angus burger – maybe evern cheaper – and much better. when factoring quality and price I believe 5 Guys comes out on top of the new 4 or 5 places

    • November 15, 2010 at 8:43 pm
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      Good to hear, looking forward to trying the place out tomorrow. I attempted to eat there tonight, but they were "closed due to flooding". I didn't see any flooding, so I will assume/hope it's a minor thing.

  • November 16, 2010 at 12:02 pm
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    I was there today "again" – I had other things to do downtown so i used that as an excuse did not see anything that may of indicated flooding. Note: if you have lots of toppings – use a napkin – can me messy.

  • November 16, 2010 at 5:46 pm
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    Oh hell, bush league error on my part.
    I ordered a regular cheeseburger which is by default two patties (not unlike Peter's Drive In, Calgary). The "Little" Cheeseburger is a normal sized single patty. Difference of two bucks. So the comparaison is much more sound between the "Little" and the Angus burger et al.
    Cheers

    Scott

    • November 16, 2010 at 6:40 pm
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      I have been hearing mixed reviews, specifically about Five Guys' buns. Lots of people saying they are squishy, soft, and perhaps should be toasted. A minor complaint, and I've heard other things about condiments, presentation etc… but that's part of their deal. Anyone care to speak on the bun issue?

      • November 16, 2010 at 11:45 pm
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        The bun is a touch small and tends to make the burger a a bit messy. I do not mind messy food ( you have to let loose sometimes). I did get a peek and they do lightly toast them. As for presentation. relax, this is a high volume place. The wrapper is a great catcher for the toppings that fell off. It looks good, yes it can be messy , but my taste budds love it.

    • November 16, 2010 at 6:55 pm
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      Whoa…. a Peter's Drive In reference! Nice! I love that place. The burgers are somewhat lackluster, the fries are not super tasty (though they give you a lot), but those shakes. Damn I could go for one of those shakes right now.

  • November 16, 2010 at 11:23 pm
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    Ate there tonight. Not bad, much better than your average fast food burger, absolutely, but still a fast food burger. Tasty, enjoyable, and a single patty "little hamburger" comes in under $5, so its priced reasonably. Only complaint I have is that it was terribly greasy, and the bun struggled to cope in the end. Will totally be going back, heck, I already have a craving for another.

    Oh, and it's nowhere near as fast as most "fast food" places, since they cook the patty on a grill fresh as you order ~3-5minute wait from ordering, albeit I went at 9pm.

    Curiously overstaffed to the extreme, but I imagine that down to training and such.

  • November 17, 2010 at 10:44 am
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    I loved my first Five Guys experience (went last night). I had the "Little Cheeseburger" – there's nothing little about it, as Scott said above, it's one patty instead of two and was more than satisfying. The bun is squishy but I liked it, I wouldn't want a toasted bun. It did make for a messy burger but that's half the fun. If I had any complaint, it would be that there's no gravy. I don't like ketchup so I felt my fries were lacking. I guess I could have asked for mayo.

    Oh, and the music!! The piped in music that was playing last night was bloody awful. It started off as 80's classic rock and then turned into some kind of elevator/electronic jazz. I felt like I was at the grocery store. I don't normally get bothered by that type of thing but it was loud and hard to ignore. It seems like they should be playing something lot hipper.

    With exception to the lack of gravy and the bad tunes, it was an overall great experience. I would go so far as to say that I liked the burger better than Harper's, HOWEVER, it's a completely different experience and Harper's burger is still delish. When I want a nice, classy, slow dinner, I'll still go there for a burger hands down but for something quick and a little easier on the pocketbook, Five Guys will get my business. Sorry Wendy, we had quite the love affair for a while there but you're just too far away.

  • December 17, 2010 at 2:47 pm
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    Every time I try to order a vegan poutine from the Poutine Place they tell me they're out of tofu. If they don't want to actually stock tofu or make vegan poutine they should take it off their menu because they have quickly changed from being the place I was most excited about to the place that frustrates me the most.

  • December 20, 2010 at 2:20 pm
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    I see Asha has now departed – not entirely surprising. Always seemed to be nearly empty. I think they had the better soup (the name of which I forget but it's fairly standard fare in Korean/Japanese places) but that's about it.

    Five Guys was good. I can't imagine having a 'normal' burger and large fries…. the 'little' burger and regular fries was plenty, and the 'free refills' on the drink were good. I don't think they had coffee – but then I expect it would be a bit too much to keep that at a good standard – my nearest Subway seems to have given up on coffee altogether.

        • December 21, 2010 at 12:42 pm
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          Yes, sorry – a nice restaurant, with what I considered to be the best menu among the Princess Street Korean/Japanese outlets, but never seemed very busy.

          • January 17, 2011 at 12:38 pm
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            It's becoming some place called "The MonkeyBar" which seems to be a jungle-themed nightclub. Meh.

  • February 4, 2011 at 2:04 am
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    I went vinnys burger&fries i had the number 1 combo that is two beef pattys fries&a drink for $ 4.95 it was amazing i will never eat mc donalds aslong as theres vinnys

    • February 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm
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      I might need to give the place a try again then, good to have heard recent feedback. I went very shortly after they re-opened as a burger place and didn't care for what I had, but that was some time ago now, so they have likely changed a bit. Cheers!

  • February 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm
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    Looks like we are getting a Jreck sub shop downtown? Their first sun shop in Canada apparently, and they have a good 60 or so locations in NY state. Might be interesting. http://www.jrecksubs.com/

  • August 23, 2011 at 10:12 pm
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    Harper's wins hands down!!! Anyone who thinks otherwise is sorely mistaken!!! Not only is the food incredibly delicious but you can be rest assured that it is of the highest quality!!! (No fake, chemicals ingredients here!) Anyone who feels this is an expensive place to eat…outta get out more! Seriously!!!
    Well done Harper's…downtown Kingston is so lucky to have such a fun and yummy place to dine!!! You should be extremely proud of your success!!!

  • April 1, 2012 at 1:44 am
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    Harpers is really good but, the meat is not that great. It's the toppings that make it. The meat patty is bland as can be. Their fries are great and their range of toppings fantastic. They need to season that patty though!

  • July 9, 2013 at 10:19 pm
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    Smoke’s poutine got me too many times after the bar…. Just give in Kingston

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