630 8 Avenue SW Calgary, AB T2P 1G6 Open 7 days a week
There are days when there is nothing more satisfying than a good greasy burger and fries. However, with the large number of mediocre burger chains using frozen beef, mechanically-shaped patties, lousy buns, and limp, flavourless toppings, society’s expectations for what constitutes a good burger have diminished. Correspondingly, what most places feel they can get away with serving has decreased proportionately in quality. Institutions like In N Out burger, creating what i consider to be the ideal quality fast-food burger, are definitely the exception and not the norm.
Some have made efforts to upscale the burger, with Daniel Boulud’s gourmet Burger Royale @ DB Bistro Moderne, topping the pile at $99. These are not burgers. They are gourmet-inspired versions of an American classic. Even upscale chains like Earl’s and Joey’s have fluffied up their burgers so they can charge $15 a pop, to keep pace with their other upscale offerings. This is not the burger of my childhood. To me, burgers are easy, approachable, affordable food.
After our final basketball game of the year, we hit our watering hole of choice, Murph’s Pub on 8th Avenue. This establishment has provided us with the venue for many post-game discussions. I would like to say we go for the quality of food, but let’s be honest: Monday is cheap burger night, and when you’re talking athletes and refreshments, sadly, price is king. Fortunately, price and quality are not mutually exclusive.
Murph’s burger is what a good pub burger should be – large, and cheap. Starting at $7.95 ($6.95 on Monday’s) you get a basic burger and fries. Additional toppings, bacon, cheese, and mushrooms, come in at $1 a piece. What you get is a large, hand formed patty, cooked well done but still juicy. A fresh toasted bun that is firm enough to hold the mountain of toppings, while soft enough not to cut the inside of your mouth like toasted ciabatta does. A large dill pickle, fresh tomato, red onion, lettuce, and mayo round out the basic burger. With a big pile of decent fries (crisp, with a slightly too-soft centre, usually a bit over-seasoned), this is a filling, and satisfying meal. While this will not be competing with Buchanan’s nor the Burger Royale, it won’t be setting you back $20-$100 dollars either.
Murph’s is a location that really is come as you are, even if you’re sweaty, tired, and obnoxiously thirsty. They won’t win any awards for their decor, food, or service, but they don’t need to. They make good greasy food. They serve cold beer. They do so at affordable prices. Compared to many other choices we have today, that should be more than enough to warrant a visit.