Boon Burger Café Plant-based restaurant sprouts on Ottawa Street

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What is it?

The two most common misconceptions that people have when it comes to eating plant-based meals are that they’re boring and not filling enough.

For a while, I was adamant that choosing juicy beef over a veggie patty was a no-brainer until I realized that it wasn’t the concept of eating plant-based that was hindering my food experience, but rather my choices of what and where to eat reinforced my misconceptions.

A garden salad is indeed boring and not fulfilling, but The Boon Burger Café’s extensive menu of 100 per cent plant-based burgers and poutines puts the thought of deeming them boring to shame.

The Boon Burger Café is a vegan restaurant that has seen remarkable success since opening its doors on Ottawa Street this past December. It joins a small but distinguishable group of restaurants offering vegan eats in Hamilton.

How to get there from campus:

Take the 10 Eastgate Square bus from Emerson at Main for a 20-minute bus ride to Main at Ottawa.

Walk along Ottawa Street North towards Barton Street East until you reach 295 Ottawa Street North.

Price range:

The Boon Burger Café had a three-tier system to their burger menu. As you venture into more ingredients or unique combinations, the prices increase. The Standards are $9.25, Dressed Up are $12 and Over the Top is $13.75.

Their poutine selection and chili cheeze fries ranges from $8-$10 for a regular, while most large choices are $12.

You can add a side soup, salad or sesame-potato fries for $5, or a generous serving of poutine or chili fries for $6 and $6.50, respectively. If you plan on adding a side, go for the +$5.95 meal deal that lets you add a side and drink (hand-made lemonade or iced-tea) to any burger choice.

For no extra charge you can have your burger in a whole wheat tortilla wrap or bed of romaine lettuce instead of a bun.

What to get:

During my first visit, I tried the “Backyard BBQ” burger, which is part of “the Standards” tier of the Café’s menu.

Despite being a simpler option compared to others menu choices, the burger arrived overflowing with fresh vegetables, pickles, relishes and other condiments reminiscent of summer days over the grill. What’s really exciting about the burger is that the grilled boon patty is packed with mushrooms, brown rice, onion, garlic and lentils.

The chili cheeze fries are also a must-order item. Signature chili and guacamole are doused over delicious sesame-potato fries and vegan cheese, along with a sprinkle of green onions and tomatoes.

The bacun cheeze burger off the Dressed Up tier is also a favourite, while Bollywood fire, which comes with a grilled Buddha patty basted in Frank’s hot sauce, yams and curry mayo, may be a more adventurous option off the Over the Top tier.

Why it’s great:

The restaurant space is aesthetically pleasing, with a living plant wall, portraits of animals and toy elephants and zebras as table cards. It can seat around 30 people comfortably, and individuals have the option to dine in or take out.

It’s also welcoming. Before your order at the register, a server will come to your table and thoroughly explain the menu. They’ll often come back and chat with you about your experience, encouraging you to ask any questions.

The Boon Burger Café joins the growing number of vegan eateries in Hamilton, while still being conscious of its non-vegan competitors. The prices are competitive with most standard burger joints around the city, but the value is even more justified in the size of portions, quality and diversity of the ingredients and of course, the flavours.

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Author: Razan Samara

Arts and Culture Reporter Razan Samara is a second year Life Science student writer and community advocate. When she isn't taking a nap on a go bus, she spends her evenings watching crappy sci-fi series and mourning their subsequent cancelation.