At Broadview: Dangerous Dan’s
It is, says Jason Schott, on his bucket list.
But when the featured item of the Colossal Colon Clogger Combo thumps onto the table, the 39-year-old real estate agent wonders if he might kick it sooner than he'd anticipated.
"I have no idea how I'm going to eat this monster," he says, wide-eyed and stoked to fill his face with a hamburger that's, well, the size of his face.
The setting is Dangerous Dan's Diner, a carnivore's corner at Queen St. E. and Broadview Ave. And this meal is an eater's Everest, a mountain of meat intended to make chowing a challenge.
Schott's order isn't for the faint-hearted. The Coronary Burger or the Big Kevorkian would actually be a safer bet. The Quadruple C is a 24-ounce burger — the beefy equivalent of six quarter pounders — topped with a quarter pound of cheese, a quarter pound of bacon and two fried eggs.
"There's also some tomatoes and lettuce on there to make it healthy, so, basically, it's like a salad on a bun," says Schott, who clearly understands the spirit of the place.
The burger is served with a small — no need to be excessive — poutine and a large shake. No mention of a defibrillator on the menu.
So how many calories do you get for $24.95?
"Lots and lots and lots," says the genial James McKinnon, who opened the "Double D" 12 years ago and has been dishing burgers and friendly barbs ever since.
"We're not hiding the fact, it's not healthy for you," he says. "If you want to eat sprouts or whatever, you can do that at home."
When McKinnon opened the diner, named for his late grandfather, it was not on the most inviting of inner-city intersections. He likes to tell of how a requirement for his first employees was that they could fight. He figured cooking was an easier skill to teach.
"Twelve years ago, it was the Wild West down here," says the 45-year-old. "It's definitely a neighbourhood coming back up."
And while he frets that gentrification could bring higher rents that may eventually force him out, his sense of humour never wanes. It is pervasive at the diner, though it might not be to everyone's taste.
Customers sit on seats removed from car. Posters of food encourage diners to dig in "While we still have health care" or declare that "Meat is Murder. Tasty. Tasty Murder." Some items on the menu are highlighted with a marijuana leaf, indicating that they are recommended for "medicinal" cannabis users.
James McKinnon opened the "Double D" 12 years ago and has been dishing burgers and friendly barbs ever since.PAUL HUNTER/TORONTO STAR
McKinnon believes that when it comes to burgers, nothing succeeds like excess. And fun. That helps explain why the Colon Clogger has been the object of pilgrimages, including one by a group off young men from Kingston who bused in for the culinary challenge.
"It's just silly — I never thought I'd sell the number of them that I do, but it's good if people remember us for it," says McKinnon, who estimates about 15 orders of the Quad C go out of his open kitchen each week.
"That's about as big as we think you can make it and it can actually be eaten by one person. It's ridiculous and it's stupid but it's not impossible."
So was it was indeed mission possible, Mr. Schott?
"Ate it all; cross that off my bucket list," reports the real estate man, who opted to take his burger booty home to consume it in private with a knife, fork and a little dignity. "I'm probably more full than I've ever felt."
Schott, who is 5-foot-10 and was 162 pounds, says the meal took 52 minutes to finish and that he almost quit about three-quarters of the way through — fighting through what McKinnon calls "meat sweats," like a marathon runner hitting the wall — before devouring the last hunk.
"A surprising number of people finish the burger," says McKinnon. "It's the poutine and the shake that kill you."
Dangerous Dan's Diner, at the corner of Queen St. E. and Broadview Ave., features such daunting items as the Coronary Burger, the Big Kevorkian and the Colossal Colon Clogger Combo.
PAUL HUNTER/TORONTO STAR
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