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Empty space re-opens with two new restaurants

I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

(photo: Andrew Sprague)Few storefronts in Charlottetown have seen as many incarnations as 177 Great George Street (formerly 77 University Avenue). 

Some remember it best as an Indian buffet called Royal Tandoor or a Chinese place called Silver Streams. Others may have rocked out for a night at the Alibi Lounge. Others still may have had their first burger that included meat from three different birds at the Orange Lunchbox. I know I did. For a short time last year John Pritchard set up shop in the space, and just recently two restaurants have moved in after an extensive renovation that saw the square footage split in half by a new wall and bathrooms.

On the left we have Green Jade Café which specializes in Thai food. On the right we have Crafters Burger Co. the subject of this month’s column.

Crafter’s serves thirteen varieties of burger, six styles of grilled cheese and a dozen sides. They have beer on tap and pops in the fridge. You put your order in at the counter and they bring it out to you when it’s ready. The space is open and fresh with seating for about thirty, and a few stools at the window where you can watch the world go by.

Among the more interesting burger selections are the Maui Wowie with glazed ham, pineapple salsa, provolone cheese and sweet honey soya mustard; the Budda Bing with chunky marinara, aged pepperoni, banana peppers, smoked mozarella and herb mayo; and the French Melt with braised onions, roasted mushrooms, gruyere cheese and herb mayo. The grilled cheese contain many of the same ingredients and combos as the burgers. The sides feature a green and Caesar salad, and a whole bunch of deep fried stuff including mac and cheese balls, fried chicken and gravy fries, and Royales, which are mashed potato, cheddar and bacon balls with gravy on the inside. Too many of those bad boys and you might as well book the angioplasty ahead of time.

The burger I ordered, the Founding Father, might best be described as TABPSSLCPO on a SSB without the O and the SS, and the Ps are deep fried. Those born after 1990 might not get that, and those born before might be confounded anyway. Crafter’s version of the Big Mac was a monster of a sandwich. It’s a big double-decker with what Crafter’s tongue-in-cheekedly calls Familiar Sauce. It was oddly familiar. The Founding Father was pretty tasty but lacked a certain zing found in the sandwich that inspired it. The onion rings on the side were crunchy and delicious. I came within four bites of finishing the burger but had to throw in the towel.

My company that afternoon ordered his burger with fries on the side. After seeing my onion rings he seemed to regret that, but the fries were good all the same. His burger was the Beefy Boy with pulled beef short rib, roasted mushrooms, crispy onion rings, double cheddar and spicy horseradish mayo. He ate every bite and grunted once for sure, so I’m pretty sure he liked it. It seemed sloppy but he managed to keep the vast majority in his face rather than on his plate.

At $21 for the burger, rings, a chocolate milk, and a generous counter service tip it was right in the neighbourhood of most downtown lunches.

Crafter’s Burger Co. shows some promise. The burgers are good and the service is quick and uncomplicated. I’ll be back to try a few Royales for sure. Let’s hope the revolving door at play this time is the one greeting customers and not the one that sends another business out.

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