Well it's official, it's now open!
When the Prospector Burger Barn was closing for the season we heard rumours that it would not be re-opening.
Well I can tell you now that is all they are - rumours. I had the privilege of going down to try out the new Burger Barn location on Memorial Avenue, and let me tell you, the burger was fantastic. I have to say that it was even better than the Syndicate Avenue location.
I'm not sure why they were better; they still make the burgers the same way - flame-broiled with fresh, never frozen, beef on homemade buns.
The Prospector Burger Barn is a spin off from the locally-famous steakhouse, The Prospector, which is owned by the Hockenhull family. The steakhouse has been a staple in Thunder Bay for over 30 years, and in 2004 the family decided to open a seasonal burger place, which is how the Burger Barn was born.
Over the years, the Hockenhull family has heard from so many clients that they wished the Burger Barn was open longer or even possibly year-round. Well this year, they saw that the vacant building on Memorial Avenue was for sale and they looked into establishing a permanent, year-round Burger Barn location.
The Prospector Steakhouse has gone through some major changes over the last two years, with the addition of Parker Smith, a red seal chef who has launched many great restaurants in the Guelph and Toronto area over the last five years.
When he came home to Thunder Bay, the Hockenhulls recognized him as being a perfect fit for their dream of a year round Burger Barn, as well as helping to tweak the regular Prospector Steakhouse menu.
Tuesday was the official soft opening of the Burger Barn. I toured the facility a few weeks ago and got to see first-hand how everything was made. There are no freezers on site - everything is made fresh daily, never frozen. The buns are baked all day long to ensure the guests get the freshest buns possible, and they also make their famous beef barley soup and amazing Caesar salad that people seem to love.
The burgers are made daily from fresh ground, locally grown, Ontario beef. When a customer orders a burger, it's placed on the broiler where, like a kind of giant toaster, the burger goes round and drops down in three minutes, fully cooked with that char look. Three minutes is all it takes to make a fresh, never frozen, burger - how awesome is that? You can order the blue collar special for just $7, which gets you a burger, fries and a refillable soft drink. That's a better deal than at other local burger chains, and you know that it's all fresh, never frozen, food!
The drive thru will eventually be open as soon as everything is up and running in full swing, and even in the drive-thru your order should take no longer than 4-5 minutes. That is pretty amazing, considering everything is made from scratch at such a great price.
This Burger Barn location is offering something else the old Syndicate Avenue location didn't offer - local on tap beer.
So don't forget to stop in after the game for a beer and a burger. Parker Smith also told me don't be surprised in the near future you see a veggie burger and possibly some other great additions to the new locations menu.
The Hockenhulls, along with Parker Smith, have worked very hard to make sure their clients can enjoy the best of both worlds with this addition of the new Burger Barn. The inside resembles a barn, with washed out old boards, that were taken from barns around the area. The tables were made from local wood, as well.
The hours for the new Burger Barn right now are 11:00 am until 7:00 pm, but they hope to expand those hours soon.
On September 29th, at 11:00 am, the new Burger Barn officially opens its doors to the public. Go on down and show them your support.
Learn more about Thunder Bay dining visit the Thunder Bay Dining Facebook page. For more on the Dining Lady, checkout this website.