Yesterday, a blurb in the Edmonton Journal about a new burger joint in Sherwood Park caught my eye. The new burger place, called the Bongo Burger Bar, is an offshoot of Jungle Jim’s Eatery located in the Roadking truckstop on the north end of Broadmoor Boulevard. 

What sets the BBB apart from other burger establishments? Mark Siderson—credited as Chief Bongo—answers, “First and foremost, the flavors and quality of Planet Earth’s Best Selection of WORLD-Class Burgers!” BBB offers 35 hand-made burgers made from your choice of either an eight ounce beef patty, or a six ounce boneless, skinless chicken breast, or a six ounce crispy-coated chicken breast. The press release states that the BBB is located in “the friendly confines of the Roadking Travel Centre”. That was reassuring because I planned to take my kids, and the last place I wanted them to be was in an unfriendly burger confine. You know how those travel centre patrons can get sometimes.

Part of the press release:

“Now, you may have guessed it already, but at the Bongo Burger Bar, we like having a little fun! So, if you think you can play the Bongo’s, the Burger Bar has a treat in store for you! Just dare to play the bongos for us…and your fellow Guests…and you could walk away with your very own authentic Bongo Burger Bar Bongos…Did we mention that it’s a little nutty at the Bongo Burger Bar?”

Despite the fact that the BBB is an offshoot of a chain, and despite their abominable use of alliteration and their penchant for making proper nouns out of random words in their press release, I was still intrigued. Off we went to the Bongo Burger Bar on Broadmoor Boulevard and bunkered down in a bamboo booth. (Two can play this game.)

The décor, as you might imagine in a place called Jungle Jims Eatery, is like Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville on steroids: plastic parrots, strings of coloured lights, silk tropical plants, neon signs in shapes of palm trees, the appropriate amount of beer paraphernalia and booth benches upholstered in a soil-resistant fabric featuring ghastly Hawaiian print. It was everything I expected.

The waitress brought us our drinks and told us the burgers were really good because “Like, the meat is actually, like, real meat…” We settled on the Teriyaki Pineapple Burger, the BBQ Bacon Cheddar Burger and the CHEEZE Please! Burger and waited. My step-son said, “I’m scared.” He’s 15.

Here’s what I didn’t expect. I didn’t expect the burgers to be so damn good. Eight ounces? At least.

All three were hot, juicy and had great flavour combinations. I took a bite of my teriyaki burger and was rewarded with a stream of juice running down my chin. That’s definitely a sign of a good burger. The kids gave a thumbs up for their burgers as well.

So here’s the thing: the burgers may be hand-made, but those fries and onion rings came right out of a bag and unfortunately all three sides ended up being luke-warm and soggy with grease. But as far as the burgers go? Those were bloody beautiful, bar none.