The first rule of Burger Club: Burgers are made of beef. The team of sandwich eating professionals that brought you Winnipeg’s Best Club House, Reuben and Gyro, now embark on a life long quest to find Winnipeg’s best burgers. Yes, burgers – we’re going to rate the best Bacon, Cheese, Chili, Fatboy, Greek and Mushroom burgers. I know what you’re thinking – there are already several lists for Winnipeg’s Best Burger – but we bring the science – we have spreadsheets!
The spring melt has begun and soon burger stands will be opening like crocuses across the countryside.
As Winnipeg travelers head east on #1 to Whiteshell and Kenora cottage country, the first burger stand along the highway is Walker’s. It’s at Road 40, one mile east of Paradise Village (49.662774, -96.550352). There are shaded picnic tables, a little turtle pond, and an indoor taxidermy display to make the burger stop a fun family outing. Walker's is quite lively on summer weekends.
If you’re a Manitoba fisherperson, you can also get live minnows and leeches. In fact, there’s a 24-hour, self serve cooler for the early bird, where you drop payment in a pill bottle through a pipe in the wall.
I quite enjoy the burger at Walker’s. It’s a nice homemade patty - thick and juicy enough to be hearty although I usually make mine a double. The patties are cooked fresh in the burger shack and served on a nice, soft bun. You can also get piping hot fries and a selection of other items including farmer’s sausage, perogie dinner, smokies, poutine and chicken fingers for the kiddies.
Walker’s has my favourite chili sauce. It’s not too sweet, not too spicy, meaty, and creates it’s own layer in the burger assembly. I rode in on a quad for a burger one day, and as I was walking away with my foil wrapped chili burger, Craig Walker came running out shouting a warning “Don’t try and ride with that – it’s messy!” It is, and I’m not that good that I could ride one-handed while eating a burger. I sat in the sun and enjoyed it.
Craig Walker is another reason for going to Walkers. He’s a character. One time my wife and I were heading over to pay for our pork sandwiches and Craig was already at the counter filling a baggie with leeches for a customer. As his eyes met Karen’s, he pretended to swallow a leech. At least I think he pretended ….
Did I forget to mention the pulled pork? Every Friday in the busy summer season, Craig roasts up a pig and you can stop in for a fresh pork-on-a-bun sandwich for $4.99. It’s delicious. Sometimes there are a couple of young ladies at the pulled-pork stand deep frying up fresh sugar donuts you can have for dessert still hot. Just try and stop at one. You can also go inside the store and have an ice-cream cone for dessert. At the little deli there are perogies, bread and farmer's sausage for sale.
A few years ago Craig got some of Danny’s Whole Hog’s old BBQs and now he’ll sell you a fresh pig so you can host your own pig roast. The first time I got a pig from Craig I didn’t realize they were fresh; I’m used to it being frozen from Danny’s. As I was handed the hundred pound floppy pig the night before our roast, I asked Craig what I was supposed to do with it. He said “Keep it cold!” Now I ask you, where would you put a 48” long fresh pig to keep it cold? We cleared out the beer-fridge and duct taped the door shut for the night.