Is it worth the drive to Barrie to eat at Boon Burger? Maybe! If you are going apple picking, on your way to or from cottage country, or just really in the mood for a vegan burger, Boon Burger will hit the spot (the location in Barrie that we went to is not yet listed on their website it seems). If you are not vegan, and not very adventurous in terms of tastes, textures or flavours, I bet you will still really enjoy this 100% plant-based menu. Boon means “something to be thankful for; blessing benefit”, it also signifies the sprouting of a new and fresh take on fast food. We definitely need a new take on fast food as our culture knows it, so this is a step in the right direction!
When I walked towards Boon Burger on the main street in Barrie, I was quite surprised and excited to see they had a special “Phish” burger advertised on the sandwich board out front, since Phish is my favourite band – I quickly realized it had nothing to do with music and everything to do with making sure people knew it was fish-free (faux fish as some would say). Consequently, I did order it, not just because of the name, but I love eating the specials, and it sounded great.
Although the food is brought to your table by Boon staff, you order up at the counter as you would at a fast food restaurant, and just like at Snakes and Lattes in Toronto, they give you a little animal figurine to put on your table, that identifies you and your order will be brought to the right table. We ordered quickly for our whole family. Everyone chose from their 4 vegan patties (primarily made from organic ingredients, and a black bean patty that is soy free was my mother’s favourite) with different toppings. I’m sure you could build your own burger, but there are so many creative combinations to choose from, you must check out the menu. My sister had a side of vegetable soup, which she loved, my father tried the Caesar salad, and the rest of us tried their sesame “fries” (although they do not use deep fryers or microwaves for anything in their restaurant – major bonus points for this!). My brother ordered off the kids menu, which is unusual for our family, but it was a reasonable price and just smaller portions of the food, so he had and loved the chili cheese fries. Of course, he was still hungry afterwards, because he has more of an adult appetite, so we did order more food for him. The burgers are a great size, but the sides are quite small.
Some other great positives about this new franchise from Western Canada include: they use all compostable take-out containers and utensils, they use a lot of organic ingredients, they had organic ketchup and mustard on every table (this is a huge thing for me, however I was very disappointed to learn that they use Heinz ketchup in their kitchen behind the scenes, that seems very misleading to me since they have organic on the tables), it’s very clean and friendly service – and housemade organic coconut ice cream (we got in a reusable bowl, since the cones are the lowest quality conventional ones for some reason), they have gluten-free buns as an option, and they don’t use nuts in their kitchen, although cannot guarantee that all of the products coming into their kitchen do not contain traces, which is understandable.
I hope that Boon Burger gets rid of the Heinz Ketchup in the back, and other conventional products and becomes a little more consistent with their commitment to good food so it’s not confusing – and then opens up in Toronto so I can eat there frequently.
We really enjoyed this 100% vegan spot, and if you are craving a hamburger, or a hot dog and fries, these are the ones to eat (besides the burger that my mom makes, or that Chef Doug McNish makes – it’s the best vegan burger I’ve ever tasted, and eat frequently, often for breakfast on Saturdays at the Brickworks Farmers’ Market).
Boon Appetite! (off the back of their menu) I am thankful to be able to eat more real food when dining out!