A Second Chance Granted: Garage Burger Bar & Grill

Last spring, I garnered my first serious comment smack-down on a post about my mostly negative initial experience at Garage Burger Bar & Grill (10242 106 Street). I have since learned that it is a much-loved installation in the downtown dining core, even though some of its most stalwart fans have also admitted that Garage has fallen prey to inconsistent standards in the last year.

On Thursday, prior to the Biden-Palin smackdown, Mack and I were finally ready to give Garage a second chance, prodded somewhat by a coupon I had on hand. Still early in the evening, the restaurant was completely empty when we walked up, and remained so throughout our brief stay. We were quickly seated at a self-selected table on the patio, eager to soak up the last rays of autumn, and after settling in with our drinks of choice, paged through the well-worn menus.

I ordered the Bacon Mozza ($6.49), while Mack opted for the Chili Burger ($6.49). We topped off our meal with a basket of french fries ($3.95), as they were out of onion rings.

The advantage of being the only customers in a restaurant became evident when our food arrived just minutes after placing our order. Our burger plates looked virtually identical to what I could remember from our past visit, but thankfully, the fries appeared to be fresh this time around. Our burgers themselves were fine – they hit the spot, but in general were nothing special.

Bacon Mozza Burger

Chili Burger

“Why are you always taking my picture?”

While more inexpensive than a comparable burger from a place like Red Robin’s, I’m still left wondering how Garage has accumulated the reputation it has; perhaps we have to patronize them later in the evening to get a sense of the large community that supports their favourite burger joint and keeps the restaurant on its toes.

Garage Burger Bar & Grill
10242 106 Street
(780) 423-5014
Monday 11am-6pm, Tuesday & Thursday 11am-8pm, Wednesday & Friday 11am-9pm, Saturday 12-8pm, closed Sundays

14 thoughts on “A Second Chance Granted: Garage Burger Bar & Grill

  1. Since coming to Edmonton the only praise I’ve ever seen for Garage has been in the Vue reviews. While that is noteworthy, I found it conspicuous that I never met anyone who could corroborate the claim, or provide any sort of positive review of Garage.

    The most I could ever get was “It’s ok”.

    After this review, especially the images, I now know it really won’t be worth my time to get downtown to try it.

    Too bad.

  2. I used to be a stalwart Garage supporter, but of late I feel that they’ve fallen from grace.

    Once, we would arrive on Sundays via Motorcycle and crowd the patio for burgers and fries… but due to self-proclaimed staff shortages, the Garage is now closed Sundays. Your suggestion about going later in the evening to enjoy the atmosphere is also flawed, as they’re not open evenings, shutting down at 6pm on most week-days. If you want to enjoy a crowd atmosphere you have to go on a weekday afternoon and fight for a seat.

    I know from previous frequent visits, that there is an ideal at the Garage. If you get the correct cook, on a week when they bought their buns from the Italian bakery, and Earth, the moon and Mars are in a proper alignment, you’re in for a treat… But in my own jaded opinion, Hudson’s is the new place to go for an excellent burger.

  3. I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Garage, but like Edward said above, almost all of the positive commentary I’ve read/heard has been from Vue. I do have a friend who swears by the Garage, but that’s partly because her friend is one of the owners, and, when she worked downtown, he let her park her car in the back of the restaurant for free on the condition that she buy at least one meal a month from him.

    After reading both of your reviews and, more importantly, looking at the pictures you took, I can’t say that I’m particularly inspired to try out the Garage.

    Based on the pictures alone, those look like burgers that are, at best, “OK.”

  4. I’d just like to say that the photos in this post are much better than in your first review of Garage. Guess we’re getting better at that šŸ™‚

  5. I was always hearing good things about Garage burger, some people even claiming it’s the city champ, but somehow I never make it down. It was just recently that I heard my first iffy comments about the burgers from someone who I trust. Combine that with your reviews, and the average looking burgers, I also wonder how they have developed such a reputation.

  6. I’m glad you posted this as I was debating if I should make a trip and use my coupon before the end of the month. I know I won’t go out of my way to eat here.

  7. Thanks for the dialogue, everyone!

    Though my intention wasn’t to scare everyone away from Garage, it seems that has occurred anyway. I do think individual experiences account for a lot, so if you’re on the fence about Garage, do give it a try. Who knows, there may be something we’re all missing.

    Violet – I think I am so used to having coupons to fall back on that I am considering buying the 2009 Entertainment Book just to have it, even though it appears to be slim pickings compared to the 2008 edition. Are you going to buy it?

  8. I did buy the book, but I was able to get a deal so it was an easy decision. I was debating about spending the $40 since there are fewer coupons but I usually use the Vancouver Aquarium and that’s already $20. Did you use enough coupons to recover the cost? I used quite a few food coupons the past year so I think it’s worth it.

  9. Yeah, I definitely recovered the cost so it was worth the money I paid, but I do know having a copy of the Entertainment Book also restricted where I would dine. Convenient when a restaurant would fall geographically near the next destination, but in some ways, I think it saddled me with the “coupon-only mentality”.

  10. That’s true, I went to places because I had a coupon but I wouldn’t recommend. I recently went to Sherlocks to use my coupon but they changed their menu. I used to think it was ok pub food but now I wouldn’t suggest going. The coupon doesn’t even cover the cost of one entree anyway. It’s still a good deal for me since I use some of the non food coupons.

  11. I went here once and concur with your review. Average at best. I think it’s because they use pre-formed patties from some supplier and dont make and season the patties themselves. I find they taste quite bland.

    I always think it’s best if you’re trying a burger from a place you start with a cheeseburge. A lot of extra condiments (chili,etc.) can hide the flavour (or lack thereof) of the burger itself.

  12. We drove past the garage burger bar last friday night and noticed it was closed. No info on whether they have openned anywhere else.

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