Last Updated on May 17, 2022 by Pamela
Smashburgers have arrived in Québec City, and I, a burger addict, am over the moon with joy. To clarify, I’m not talking about the American burger chain, SmashBurger. They do not have restaurants in Canada, and while many think they invented smashburgers in the early aughts (2000s), they did not ?.
What are smashburgers, and where did they come from?
Smashburgers are thin well-seasoned beef patties with crispy edges. The beef patties, often comprised of ground chuck, are loosely formed into a ball or patty, placed on a hot grill, then “smashed” down until thin. In the beginning, the inventor of the smashburger, William Hunter Culbertson, used a No. 10 can (bean.. tomato… it’s been reported both ways) to smash down his burgers.
Culbertson was a WWII veteran who, along with a friend, purchased a Dairy Queen franchise in Ashland, Kentucky in 1949. Back then, Dairy Queen was strictly ice cream and milkshakes. Culbertson and his partner, however, wanted to sell hot dogs and fries as well. DQ wasn’t interested, and Culbertson didn’t want to continue paying them royalties to use the name, so he ended his franchise. Shortly thereafter, Dairy Cheer was born.
The menu at Dairy Cheer featured foot-long hot dogs, homemade onion rings, hamburgers, and pit barbecue sandwiches. They created the Moonburger – a five beef patties on a nine-inch bun – that was somewhat awkward, and was quickly abandonned. Then, when McDonald’s came out with their 15-cent burger, Culbertson decided that instead of decreasing his prices to compete, he would create a bigger burger.
The smashburger was born.
Holy Burgers in Québec City
In mid-April of this year, Holy Burgers opened its doors at The Pyramide near Université Laval. Headed by the same people behind Shaker cuisine et mixologie, the menu at Holy Burgers is delightfully affordable.
I first devoured a smashburger from Holy Burgers after seeing them on DoorDash. I had returned to Québec City after a two-week road trip to Memphis and Philadelphia, there was no food in my apartment, and I was starving. As a fan of the American burger chain, my tastebuds watered immediately and I ordered less than 10 minutes before they closed.
A lot of restaurant food does not hold up well when it’s delivered. Something I (and I am guessing many of you) have discovered since the beginning of the pandemic. So, when I place a DD order and the food is actually good, I make a mental note to visit the restaurant in person as soon as I can.
Friends, my first smashburger from Holy Burgers was so damn good. From the seasoning of the meat and its crispy edges to the cheese, dusted fried onions and soft bun. It was honestly, everything I wanted in a burger.
I soon dragged a friend along with me to smash a burger in person, this time a Double Trouble (two patties with cheese, dusted fried onions, bacon, tomato, lettuce, and their special sauce), along with an order of onion rings.
Since then, I have also tried the Big Smash (kind of their version of a Big Mac, but so much better), and the Rebel (a patty with cheese, dusted fried onions, bacon, and a house barbecue sauce).
Ste-Foy is a tad far from where I live in Place-Royale, but I’ll happily go to Holy Burgers when I have a car rental. I have not touched the poutine menu yet, and that definitely needs to happen. Delivery apps are an option as well.
Note: The menu also features a fried chicken sandwich, as well as a vegetarian burger. Holy Burgers is hoping to open a location in Lebourgneuf sometime in late summer 2022.
Eat at Holy Burgers
Address: 2360 chemin Ste-Foy • holyburgers.ca • open: Sun-Tues 11am-9pm, Wed-Sat 11am-11pm
Price range: $4.99 – $9.99 for just a burger, trios are $7.99 – $13.49. Poutines are $6.99 – $21.99 and come in petite, moyenne, and grande.