Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Homeburger at Licks, Toronto, Canada

Licks is a chain of fast food restaurants north of the border. They've been around since I was in high school and my distant memories include being greeted at the register by the summer placement of a smiley zit faced teen in that awkward 16 year-18 year old range taking your order- and almost always screwing it up. They took your order, your name, and eventually your dignity when they would break out into songs (including your name in the chorus) about dancing burgers, fries and "ringidinigity" onion rings. The restaurants were always crowded- at least in my home town, with friends and groups of other teens out on a Friday or Saturday night. Going to Licks was fun and I have some interesting memories- and stories from those nights out which I'll choose to keep to myself :)...but my...how things have changed...

Lick's Hamburgers
I visited Licks late on a Friday night- probably around 10PM- a full hour before closing, however there seemed to be a late night rush of a post soccer game that ensued which seemed to overwhelm the middle aged Indian man taking orders and the one short order cook. Everything was "different" now at Licks- the menus are on vertically positioned plasma screens, no more singing, no kids taking your orders- at least not tonight- which made the place loose the nostalgic feel that it once had. No taking down of names, no songs, no energy....no nothing. I really wanted my wife, who was there for the first time, to step back in time and transport us to the old Licks- to experience it as I remembered 25 years ago- but it was not to be- Licks has become just another boring, modern day, average fast food joint. We were soon to find out that the burger was to be as underwhelming as the establishment itself.

The Homeburger is the staple burger on the Licks menu. The patties are large, fresh and never frozen Canadian beef cooked over a flame grill. Burgers are made to order with your choice of topping that include everything from puckery kosher full-sour sliced pickles (that I absolutely love), to alfalfa sprouts, to their signature "Guck" sauce which is a mayo/relish mixture that they slather on their burgers. What I don't get is why they add the cheese- a shred of what appears to be a colby/cheddar mix, after cooking when the final burger is built. This technique almost invariably never melts the cheese.
The Homeburger at Lick's Burgers
The sesame seed bun was stale, so lightly toasted that it may as well had not been, the burger was dry and well done even though I asked that they cook it to medium and the un-melted cheese added a grainy consistency to the point that this burger was not only underwhelming, it was almost un-palatable. What a total and utter disappointing. I won't be going back unless it's within a happy dream or memory of the Licks of years gone past.

A Burgeraday rating: 3/10

Lick's Homeburgers & Ice Cream on Urbanspoon