I have loved Burger Baron since I was a kid back in the 1970s. I have fond memories of my dad and I stopping by the little Burger Baron drive-thru "shack" that used to be on Harvey Avenue in Kelowna on the way home from ice fishing. I wasn't much of an ice fisherman, but I was always a fan of the Burger Baron afterwards! Cheap, simple, tasty food to warm you up after a long chilly day not catching many fish thru the ice. I'm pretty sure my Dad took me there because back then, the basic burger was only $1!
And the tradition continues for me (Burger Baron, not ice fishing). Every time I go to Edmonton from Calgary for pre-season junior hockey, I always stop by Burger Baron in Red Deer's "Gasoline Alley". The last couple of visits, I was lucky enough to chat with Sal Kemaldean,
who has been involved with Burger Baron since it's beginnings.
|Sal & I at my most recent trip to Gasoline Alley's Burger Baron in Red Deer - Sept. 1, 2013|
There is some serious contention and intrique around who the original "Burger Baron" was (see Calgary Herald story from May, 2013
and the Letter to the Editor in response to the article
). As a customer, I won't take sides on that debate. (Although I do hope the parties involved can come to some reconciliation.)
Regardless of who is the "real original Burger Baron", I'm just glad that this piece of Canadian nostalgia can still be found all over Western Canada, and apparently is still growing! (A new location just opened in Okotoks!
You can still find Sal working the counter sometimes. I hope I have the energy that he has when I'm in my 70s! He is a walking talking history of the Burger Baron chain.. I think he told me that his cousin once owned the Burger Baron drive-thru "shack" on Harvey Avenue in Kelowna that me and my dad frequented after ice fishing (sadly it's gone now).
I must say I love that his sign at the Gasoline Alley location says "Serving Healthy Food since 1957". I think the definition of "healthy" has probably changed since then, but healthy or not, it still sure is tasty!
The list of Burger Baron locations tells you just how much it is part of the Western Canadian "fabric", yet it doesn't jump to mind as something "truly Canadian", probably because it's only found here - out West - far from the "centre of the universe". Burger Baron is found in larger centres like Regina
and Edmonton (8 of them in Edmonton!) too, but what makes Burger Baron truly Canadiana is that you find it in smaller "salt-of-the-earth" towns like
- Beaumont *
- Drayton Valley
- Edmonton (8 locations!)
- Fairview (no photo)
- Hobbema (defunct?)
- Lamont (no photo)
- Red Deer (Gasoline Alley)
- Regina (2 locations)
- Rocky Mountain House
- St. Paul (defunct - now "Best Bite")
- Swan Hills (no photo)
* not sure if these locations are defunct, name-changed, or are just named "Burger Baron" by coincidence. Such is the nature of family run businesses.
It's fantastic that we've had Burger Barons in the West since the 1950's! Seldom does
anything Canadian grow so successfully in the shadow of American
Long Live Burger Baron! To all the Burger Baron owners, thank you for all these years of great food!.
|Drayton Valley, AB|
|Red Deer (Gasoline Alley), AB|
|Regina, SK (Quance St.)|
|St. Paul, AB (now a "Best Bite")|
|Rocky Mountain House, AB|
| (most of these photos were found using Google Maps street view).||