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Tasting Notes: Smashed Flat Boy Burgers are in the house at Edmonton's Granite Curling Club

Edmonton Journal logo Edmonton Journal 2022-10-26 Tom Murray
Travis Meyer, kitchen manager/chef at Flat Boy Burgers, with a smashburger and fries at the Granite Curling Club in Edmonton, where the eatery now operates from six days a week, opening at 12 p.m. © Provided by Edmonton Journal Travis Meyer, kitchen manager/chef at Flat Boy Burgers, with a smashburger and fries at the Granite Curling Club in Edmonton, where the eatery now operates from six days a week, opening at 12 p.m.

While everyone else at the beginning of the pandemic was learning to make sourdough, Dan Cote-Rosen decided to hunker down over his stove and grill hamburgers for his friends.

Not just any kind of hamburger, mind you. As something of a foodie, Cote-Rosen had developed a taste for the traditional California-style Smashburger, and lamented the lack of places to find them in Edmonton. Just a few years later and what was meant to be a fun way to share his passion has developed into a full-time operation at the Granite Curling Club called Flat Boy Burgers.

So what exactly is a Smashburger, you might ask?  

“It was kind of a new concept to me as well,” admits Bryan Schmidt, operations manager for Flat Boy. “You basically take a meat patty that’s rolled loosely in a ball, and then take a kind of a flat press and push it down as hard as you can on the grill so it creates a very, very thin patty. They’re so delicious that I’ve just stopped making hamburgers at home. I mean, why bother?”

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Flat Boy Burger didn’t erupt fully formed from Cote-Rosen’s kitchen. According to Schmidt, after the founder had gained enough adherents, he moved operations to a ghost kitchen on the south side, hired his first employee, and began pumping out burgers during limited weekend hours. A little while later Schmidt and a few others signed on and helped with the move from the ghost kitchen to the curling rink in the spring of 2022.

“We just made the decision that we can grow this thing,” says Schmidt, who has done his time in both the restaurant and brewing industry. “We’ve stuck to the core values of the business with a traditional California Smashburger. We use fresh ingredients from Darcy’s Meat over on the south side, and we have a few different local providers of veggies. Our sauces are made in-house. Before we didn’t have a deep fryer, but at the Granite we’re hand punching our own flat fries, getting a really thin but wide fry that tastes great with the flat sauce we’ve developed.”

According to Schmidt, Flat Boy is still evolving and trying new things, not just with burgers.  

“We’re kind of keeping that consistent, doing things like changing the side options,” he notes. “There’s a key lime pie, which is incredible and has had great reviews, and it’s made by Travis, our general manager, from his own recipe. It’s been really, really fun to develop all of this.”  

It’s also been great for Granite, who not only gained a thriving business during off months but as of a few weeks ago now have a full-time cooking crew providing tasty, high-quality treats both to burger aficionados and curlers during the season. Schmidt points to the partnership between the Shamrock Curling Club and Drift Food Truck as an example of how curling clubs can offer something beyond soggy fries or microwaved platters. Not just freshly made hamburgers but also a number of vegan and vegetarian offerings as well, something Schmidt is clearly proud of.

Cote-Rosen is back to his day job as vice president of marketing at Oilers Entertainment Group, but he and the rest of his crew are still intent on seeing how far Flat Boy can go. That means future plans for new outlets, though they’re still figuring out exactly where.

“We’re looking at somewhere around Happy Beer Street (roughly between Whyte Avenue and 60 Avenue, and along 99 Street) but we’re not sure,” Schmidt says. “It’s exciting to be on the ground floor of something like this. We’ve got the building blocks for something that I think would make a very successful chain one day, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us.”  

 Naomi Bentin of Olde Beverly Café, which took part in Olde Town Beverly Dining Week in 2019 and returns for 2022 later this month. © Shaughn Butts Naomi Bentin of Olde Beverly Café, which took part in Olde Town Beverly Dining Week in 2019 and returns for 2022 later this month.

Beverly Dining Week 

It may have amalgamated with Edmonton more than 60 years ago, but Beverly still has the feel of being its own little town.

A separate town with some excellent dining options, that is, and they’ll be spotlighted during the annual Beverly Dining Week, which runs all week and ends on Sunday, Oct. 30.

“We’ve always kind of been branded as a small town within a big city,” acknowledges Alex Bosker, executive director of the Beverly Business Association. “It’s true, and I think the city is catching up on the fact that it really is a bit of a hidden gem with an amazing food scene.”

Returning restaurants for the event in the northeast quadrant of the city include Pappas Restaurant, Million Thai Restaurant, Galen on 118, Take Five, and the Old Beverly Cafe, while new participants include Sambusa Hut, Swiss2Go, and Kingdom of Spices.

A diverse range of options representing a diverse populace, and each establishment will have specialty menus offering options between $15 and $30. There’s lots to choose from, even the local Boston Pizza, but if you’re a foodie looking for something unusual you might take note of Mumbai Dakar, the only restaurant in the city that offers a variety of Indian and African cuisines at their buffet.  

“I just hope that people will come and experience the neighbourhood,” says Bosker. “It really does have a historic charm to it, and it’s like you’re leaving a big city and entering a small town. I know that as a resident of Beverly I’m personally having fun working my way down menu items I’ve never tasted before at some of these restaurants, learning about other cultures while experiencing different foods. It’s just a great way to do that.”

 yegarts@postmedia.com

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