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
1150 Cook St.
E: I still say that Pluto is a planet, but when James and I were looking for somewhere closer to visit, the diner of the same name was the best bet.
J: Pluto’s has a long history in Victoria. It was formerly a Pacific 66 gas station and it’s history in the Victoria eatery & music scene is well known to locals. If I can remember past advertisements correctly (and someone please correct me if I’m wrong), I believe Loreena McKennitt used to perform at this establishment over two decades ago.
Can this fact be true? Is “Zut alors” a cuss word? Well, that’s beside the point, but an exclamation must be used to let folks know that L’Authentique Poutine & Burger is back! And the best part of all is that their new truck is sporting the colours of the Quebec flag. One just has to excuse the wood panelling that’s added to the design too.
Although this food truck operation took longer to get going again, and I can certainly understand the Winter break. Although the Inuit do consume fatty meats to help them stay warm, the Victorians (let alone the folks in the Western Communities) do not need to.
L’Authentique Poutine and Burger
Just how much poutine can one bloke have? Fortunately, when the portions are decently sized, plenty!
As some readers may know, I love a good french fry. And very rarely will I venture into James’ territory, Langford, to test the places that he has no time to hit. That includes a food cart operation that touts some good ol’ fashioned poutine. While most of their food is touted to be made with the heart and soul of a native Quebecois, well, is that just fancy copy writing or is that true?