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While everyone else was learning to make sourdough at the start of the pandemic, Dan Cote-Rosen decided to sit over his stove and grill burgers for his friends.
Not just any burger, mind you. As a foodie of sorts, 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 grown 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 also kind of a new concept for me,” admits Bryan Schmidt, operations manager for Flat Boy. “You basically take a meat patty that’s loosely rolled into a ball, and then take some kind of flat press and push it as hard as you can on the grill so it gets a very, very thin patty. I’ve stopped making burgers. I mean, why bother?”
Flat Boy Burger didn’t burst fully formed from Cote-Rosen’s kitchen. According to Schmidt, after gaining enough followers, the founder moved his operations to a haunted kitchen on the south side, hired his first employee, and started pumping burgers during limited weekend hours. A little later, Schmidt and a few others signed up and helped move the haunted kitchen to the curling rink in the spring of 2022.
“We just made the decision that we can grow this thing,” said Schmidt, who has spent his time in both the restaurant and brewing industries. “We’ve stuck to the company’s core values with a traditional California Smashburger. We use fresh ingredients from Darcy’s Meat on the south side, and we have a few different local vegetable suppliers. Our sauces are made in-house. We didn’t have a deep fryer before, but with the Granite we punch our own flat fries by hand, giving us a very thin but wide tray 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 keep that kind of consistent and do things like change the side options,” he notes. “There’s a Key Lime pie, which is incredible and has gotten great reviews, and it’s made by Travis, our general manager, from his own recipe. It was a lot of fun developing all of this.”
It’s also been great for Granite, which has not only built a thriving business during the off-season, but for a few weeks now has a full-time cook that provides tasty, high-quality treats to burger aficionados and curlers alike 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 dishes. Not only freshly made burgers, but also a number of vegan and vegetarian offerings, 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 team are still looking to see how far Flat Boy can go. That means future plans for new outlets, though they’re still figuring out exactly where.
“We’re looking somewhere around Happy Beer Street (roughly between Whyte Avenue and 60th Avenue, and along 99 Street), but we’re not sure,” says Schmidt. “It’s exciting to be on the ground floor of something like this. We have the building blocks for what I think would one day become a very successful chain, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for us.”
Food Week in Beverly
It may have merged with Edmonton over 60 years ago, but Beverly still feels like its own little town.
A town apart with some excellent eateries, that is, and they will be in the spotlight during the annual Beverly Dining Week, which runs all week and ends on Sunday, October 30.
“We’ve always been branded a little bit like a small town within a big city,” admits Alex Bosker, executive director of the Beverly Business Association. “It’s true, and I think the city is catching up to the fact that it really is a bit of a hidden gem with a great food scene.”
Returning restaurants for the event in the city’s northeast quadrant include Pappas Restaurant, Million Thai Restaurant, Galen on 118, Take Five and the Old Beverly Cafe, while new entrants include Sambusa Hut, Swiss2Go and Kingdom of Spices. A wide variety of options representing a diverse population, and each establishment has special menus with options between $15 and $30. There’s a lot to choose from, even the local Boston Pizza, but if you’re a foodie looking for something out of the ordinary, you might want to check out Mumbai Dakar, the only restaurant in town that offers a variety of Indian and African dishes at the buffet.
“I just hope that people come and experience the neighbourhood,” says Bosker. “It really has a historic charm, and it’s like leaving a big city and entering a small town. I know that as a Beverly resident, I personally enjoy finding menu items I’ve never tasted before at some of these restaurants, and learning about other cultures while tasting other dishes. It’s just a great way to do that.”