Chuck’s Burger Bar
538 Yates St
Hours: Tues-Sun: 12–10PM
Phone: (250) 590-9866
While parts of the world are still in lockdown because of a pandemic, a few places remain as busy as ever. At Chuck’s Burger Bar, that overdue visit to see now they are doing more than a year later was a must. I’ve visited a few times prior, mostly for take out but not much has changed since.
Last month, I visited with other friends. We rented Quasars Arcade for some personal retro gaming time (it’s a great deal when split between friends and the machines are set to endless play). We were all experiencing cabin fever when wave two struck Victoria, BC. It was a week later when news about the UK variant hitting the island made me think twice…. For this blog, I’ll be expanding the content to include food product reviews, films about foodie culture and posts about my last adventure in Seattle’s food scene. I’m thankful I saved a few pieces for this eventuality.
The Vicious Poodle
726 Johnson St,
Weekdays Noon to 10pm
Weekends: 11:00am to 10pm
On a quiet day, nobody would immediately know the Vicious Poodle pub is one of the new centres where LGBTQ can find terrific eats and enjoy an evening burlesque or drag show. One look at the menu, the focus is obvious. Also, the decor tells all. After my visit to nerd row, I was hungry and didn’t want to hit any of my regular food spots.
Any dining operation can struggle to stay afloat during a pandemic. Not every patron is willing to “come out” to support their favourite diner, especially with all the stay safe for your health restrictions in place. When owner/operator Socrates Diamant worked on converting the Sockeye Sushi Japanese diner (it had a lot of box seating) space and made it open spaced and inviting, my heterosexuality was not challenged. Instead, I saw my quest for perfect French fries ongoing. After the first bite, I was ready to sing ou la la and do the can-can.
1275 Fairfield Rd
Victoria, British Columbia
Hours: 11:30am to 8pm
DK: Ed has been waiting for me to start this review for almost as long as Fairfield Fish and Chips was in operation. He will have many more opportunities to nibble away at my procrastination. The days of fish and chips and roses, however, are over.
Hive Eatery took over Fairfield F&C’s old digs back in August. The chip shop was once heralded as slanging the best burger in town. So yah, they left some shoes and nostalgic neighbourhood cranks are gonna be looking to the Hive to extend their toes right to the seams of said shoes.
Chuck’s Burger Bar
538 Yates St
Hours: 11am to 10pm daily
Phone: (250) 590-9866
ES: Chuck’s Burger Bar has come to town! Yes, this Sidney, BC operation is popular enough to have them decide to open up shop in downtown Victoria, on lower Fort Street. Don is the Burger King and when he told me about it, I knew we had to go there as soon as possible. For the basics, burger and fries for dinner, you can’t get any better than this! Or so I thought…
DK: There is an unwritten rule that any restauranteur would happily write down and staple to your forehead should you break it: never review a restaurant within its first two months of operation.
It’s a good rule. It takes a while for a team to build chemistry and deliver consistently. Can I tell you whether Chuck’s Victoria location is any good? Not yet (our visit occurred on their first full day of operation for fuck sakes). I will, however, speak to this newcomer’s potential.
1644 Hillside Ave · (778) 406-2101
228C-1150 Douglas St · (250) 590-1170
El DeBarge’s tune “Who’s Johnny” will come to mind for a few who is not familiar with this burger chain. When I saw the signs by The Bay Centre of another burger chain opening up in this garden city, I was slightly curious. I’m aware of them since I see them nearly everywhere in Los Angeles, California, and I like the 50’s theme. Their first operation opened last year over the early Summer and the other had their grand opening at the start of Autumn. A few months later, I hope their consistency stabilizes, otherwise this franchise is in trouble.
A few of the ideas remain in their international operations — with vintage photos decorating the walls and a few stock furnishings — but the image is not complete. The only holdovers are with the condiments sitting at every table instead of walking up to a center kiosk like in a MacDonald’s or A&W. If I want to the real deal, like visiting Arnold’s from Happy Days, someone needs to develop time travel technology.
Naughty Nellie’s Not Just Fish & Chips
4081 Shelbourne Street
Phone: (250) 721-5555
Not to be confused with the downtown operation, Nautical Nellies, Naughty Nellie’s in Gordon Head is certainly a delight for high school students and retirees alike. Depending on the time of day, I often see the latter type of clientele coming in. Also, certain species of fish goes faster into the frying pan or should I say fryer?
Lingcod was not available on the last two visits I made. It’s a touch frustrating since I like the flavour. Regular cod was ordered so I would not make a bad pun since I wasn’t in the mood for the halibut. The batter was nice and crunchy. It’s a familiar taste, without any amped up mix of extra spices to really kick the dish up a notch. The fish was cooked fast and fresh, for a moist center, though sometimes what I get hardly tastes exceptional. Fish n’ chips is comfort food and not many places really do anything special when crisping this dish up.
The fries were quite good, and they’re done right. If given a chance to bash McDonald’s fries, I will because properly home cut and freshly prepared fries tastes infinitely better than anything processed at a plant and shipped cross-country to all the outlets. Even the coleslaw was nice. Some days they make it right and other days it’s just too mushy.
Overall, for the volume offered, the dish is very good. When I’m in a mood for fish and chips and I don’t want to travel far, the walk will do me good. I can do take-out, which is what this operation specializes in, but it won’t necessarily benefit burning off the meal. With a hill separating me from home to this diner and back again, I have a means to work off the calories!
3½ Blokes out of 5