Toronto Star

Hamburgers with TLC

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Magoo’s Gourmet Hamburgers & Ice-Cream

(out of 4) LOCATION: 4242 Dundas St. W. (just east of Royal York Rd.), Etobicoke, 416-234-1148 HOURS: Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. CREDIT CARDS: Cash only NOISE: Staff behind the counter yelling out orders to the cook TAKEOUT: Yes DELIVERY: No WHEELCHAIR ACCESS:

IMPRESSION­S: Finding Magoo’s in a non-descript Etobicoke strip mall is like finding a diamond in the rough. Michael Facto has owned and run this family burger joint for 19 years with his brother Paul and sister Karen, and says it’s still all about cooking food the old-fashioned way, with real, whole ingredient­s and personal care. That’s why residents in this west-end neighbourh­ood who used to come in as teenagers are coming back as adults with their own children. It’s the kind of place that’s proud to have oversized CNE stuffed animals poking out from corners, and framed photograph­s of local children’s soccer teams plastered over their walls.

Hamburgers are made daily from “100 per cent lean ground beef and well cooked on-site,” a sign advertises above the grill. The 4-ounce Magoo-goo ($3.40) and the 6-ounce Magourmet ($3.90) burgers taste like ones you’d make at home from scratch: juicy, meaty with no filler, served between two soft, perfectly sized sesame buns. They’re also the bestseller­s here with Magoo ringing up 2,800 burgers a week.

The chicken burger ($5.45) is made with a 5-ounce boneless, tender grilled chicken breast. It stays moist when cooked because it’s real chicken with no preservati­ves, something the owners pay extra for. It’s one of the best chicken burgers I’ve ever tasted.

The Veggie Burger ($4.05), a thick, homemade, soybean-based patty, won’t disappoint and even won over a self-proclaimed carnivore. Boasting only 4.5 grams of fat, this burger will do right by the health-conscious, too, with customers travelling from far-off to sink their teeth into it.

Magoo’s offers 17 free toppings and sauces, including alfalfa sprouts, English cucumbers and a sinfully good garlicky tomato and onion bruschetta mixture. Add peameal, mushrooms, chili and Monterey Jack/cheddar to your burger for under a dollar each.

ON THE PLATE:

It made me smile to place my order at the diner’s front counter and hear the cashier shout to the cook “Magourmet with extra Magoo sauce and a side of Gooney fries!” After paying, you are called when your food

AT YOUR SERVICE:

is hot off the grill. During my first visit, I was told to take my time eating, though I arrived 20 minutes before closing time. On the second visit, I watched a stream of customers being greeted by their first names. Facto says the eatery has never formally advertised, and just gets business by supporting local school, sports and church events.

Aside from the great burgers, there’s the Fabulous Fingers ($5.25): crispy, white chicken meat pieces about four inches long that come four to an order. They’re from Pinty’s Delicious Foods in St. Catharines, which makes them from chicken breast filets. There’s barbecue or sweet and sour sauces to dunk them in, but a word from the wise: you won’t regret splurging on the Magoo sauce (35 cents), a homemade garlic mayonnaise.

SECOND HELPINGS:

With more than 20 bags of potatoes being turned into fresh-cut french fries ($2.25) each week, these are big sellers. But on both occasions, my fries were bland, soggy and greasy tasting like their frozen cousins. The Gooney Fries ($3.60), topped with homemade beef chili and cheese, were too fatty for my arteries. The poutine ($2.25), with choice of cheese and drenched in a thin, oily gravy, couldn’t win me over, either. Spicy Fries ($2.35) tasted as if they lacked any spice.

TAKE A PASS:

No wonder, considerin­g they were McCain frozen fries.The onion rings ($2.35), dumped into oil straight from the freezer, are nothing special.

Hamburger and veggie burger combos ($6.45/$6.95) come with medium fries and a 16ounce drink — and are worth every penny. Milkshakes ($3.05/ $3.80) are made by blending real milk and your favourite flavour of Nestlé ice cream. For frozen yogurt ($2.65), a yogurt bar is mixed with frozen raspberrie­s, pineapple or bananas and served in a cone or cup.

EXTRAS:

Mains like burgers, chicken and hot dogs start from $3.20, fries and the like from $2.25, and drinks are under $2.

PRICE RANGE:

Magoo’s knows how to do things the old-fashioned way with good ingredient­s, good service and a good heart.

BOTTOM LINE:

Stars are awarded for food, service and atmosphere. Reviews are based on two anonymous visits that are paid for by the Star. Outstandin­g Excellent Very good Good Fair Poor Awful

 ?? TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR ?? Michael Facto’s family burger joint will soon celebrate two decades.
TARA WALTON/TORONTO STAR Michael Facto’s family burger joint will soon celebrate two decades.

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