Welcome to my blog series where I share stories over food. It could be about food, about the brand, or any interesting tidbit that I think you’d appreciate. I will let you drool over the food photos first before I share stories with you. Stories over food originated from my curiosity about anecdotes behind my favorite food discoveries. Who is the founder of the business? How did they decide to get into the food business? These are some of the questions I wonder when I discover a new food joint. What’s awesome is that Toronto is very much a foodie city, with new restaurants popping up (what feels like) every week.
If you follow my Instagram food diary, you’ll know that I am no stranger to Big Smoke Burger. No siree. I became acquainted with the corner burger joint that emitted the smell of burgers and fries as I passed by on my daily commute. And every Friday was the day where I’d order a burger, fries and a big fat chocolate milkshake to end the week. No surprise here, my encounter with this meal meant a trade-in of productiveness for an afternoon of idis. Hence, my excitement when Eric, the manager at Toronto’s King West location invited me to sample some new dishes on their menu.
Note: I was invited as a guest by Eric to sample Big Smoke Burger’s menu
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The Beast | $11.00 CAD
I asked Eric about the story behind the name “Big Smoke, ” and he explained to me that it is a play-on-words. It’s a name that describes their flame-cooked burgers, and it is Toronto’s nickname. If you didn’t realize that this is Toronto’s nickname, welcome to the club… I didn’t either. Either way, Big Smoke lives up to its name; you can taste the hint of smoke on the meat.
Craft Poutine | $8.50 CAD
I love French fries. I love fresh hand-cut French fries even more. Don’t ask me to describe it; I ain’t no food critic. But there’s just a nice ring (and taste!) to the sound of fresh hand-cut fries. Yum. And now, I love French fries with sautéed mushrooms and rosemary garlic mayo even more. What a great twist to the classic Canadian dish. I shall call you the modern poutine!
Ice Cream Sandwich | $4.75
I need to reiterate that this dessert uses two full-sized cookies with a huge slab of ice cream in the middle. This ice cream sandwich could have been a meal on its own. While I really wanted chocolate ice cream, I figured vanilla made for a better photo and opted for that instead. Oh, the sacrifices I make for a great photo.
I ate almost everything that you see in this photo. I suspect Eric’s goal was to put me in idis mode, which was the state I was in for the rest of the day. As a matter of fact, I was so full that I didn’t eat anything until 4 pm the next day.
The story behind Big Smoke Burger
Ok, so now that you’re done drooling over the photos, let’s talk about what I’m fascinated about; the story behind the brand.
I did some research before meeting Eric and found out that Big Smoke Burger was founded in 2007 by Canadian entrepreneur Mustafa Yusuf. Mustafa’s background is impressive; he started his career in the restaurant business at 15 and worked his way up to where he is today. Since then, Big Smoke Burger has expanded to the United States and the Middle East. Isn’t that an amazing entrepreneurial story?
Eric has a pretty cool story too. He told me how he used to work side-by-side with the founder of Big Smoke Burger and even got to travel the world to help with the restaurant launches. How awesome is that? Talk about non-typical career paths!
Big Smoke Burger now offers franchise opportunities for those who are entrepreneurial. Mustafa speaks of the franchise and describes in this video how the smaller units and menu makes the restaurant easier to manage. And of course, once you take a bite out of the burger, you’ll realize that Big Smoke sells high-quality food.
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