Photo: Brodie Aikman | Dairi Wip Drive In in St. Boniface, Winnipeg
Winnipeg is the capital and largest city of Manitoba, Canada. It’s home to the beloved Winnipeg Jets, the Golden boy and a thriving French community. It’s also home to the best burgers in the world. It’s true and I’m not just saying that because I lived there. I say this because I lived there AND I ate the best burgers in the world…a lot of them…back when my metabolism allowed for such things.
Like many prairie folks, I steadily made my way to the West Coast where I now enjoy some of the best cuisine in the world. West Coast fusion, world-class sushi, etc and so on. No doubt, there’s good food here… But, the burgers? Meh. Sure, there are some good burger joints here. But more often than not, the good burgers are fancy burgers. Like, $15 fancy. And sometimes they even come with salad by default. Pffft. Please.
In Winnipeg the name of the game is the “fat boy”– a hamburger with one or more (usually more) patties, topped with chili, tomatoes, lettuce and mayonnaise. They’re messy and wonderful and I want one right now. And as I can smell the ocean air from my window, clearly I can’t have one. So, what’s the next best thing to getting what you want? Writing a top-ten list about what you want!
And so, in the spirit of meat-craving induced civic patriotism, I present to you my list of the top-ten fat boys in everyone’s favourite, centrally-located prairie city!
- Red Top Drive-in Restaurant – Time stands still in this old school diner in St. Boniface.
- Blondie’s Restaurant – Burgers of epic proportions (there’s a 9-lber) and an infamous curmudgeonly owner … It’s more than a meal, it’ an experience.
- VJ’s Drive Inn – This is where I had my first fat boy! You always remember your first. Very, very, very, good. Very.
- Juniors Restaurant – Once upon a time I only ordered the hot dogs here. And then I ordered a burger. Never looked back.
- Salisbury House – ”Sals” is a Winnipeg institution. The Cheese Nip, while not technically a fat boy, is just plain good and tastes like childhood. Plus, Burton Cummings is one of the owners. Come. On.
- Super Boy’s Restaurant – Pure greasy perfection! Home-cut fries and massive burgers… Love.
- Mrs. Mike’s – Every burger at this St. Boniface diner is out of this world, BUT the King Burger will change your life. Don’t eat for many hours before you go. Like, a day.
- George’s Burgers & Subs – With several locations, this is classic diner food at it’s best. I recommend the original location in St. Vital. I also recommend that you try their greek salad. Do it.
- The Dairi Wip – Another legendary St. Boniface burger! Take-out only, the crazy-efficient counter staff pop your fat boy and chili fries (if you’re smart) into a to-go box and bob’s-yer-uncle – you’re in fat boy heaven.
- The Burger Place – Okay, so here we have a true example of saving the best for last. Located in St. James (my old stomping grounds) the burgers here make me weep with nostalgia. Best served with a vanilla milkshake and good friends.
Yeah, so that’s my 100% biased, totally Winnipeg-centric top-ten list. What about the rest of Canada? I have to say, I feel the gauntlet’s been thrown. I can’t imagine another city with the same sort of burger mojo, but I’d be happy to be proven wrong! Anyone?