Dec 062011

Imagine you were stranded on a desert island, with no hope of ever leaving and only one Memphis burger you could eat for the remainder of your days. What burger would that be? Hard choice, right? Would it be Alex’s Tavern? Huey’s? Majestic Grille? What about Stuffy’s? All very good burgers, but I can easily say that the one burger I can no longer live without is the Four Cheese Burger from Kooky Canuck.

Kooky CanuckKooky Canuck is conveniently located on 2nd Ave. in downtown Memphis, just across the street from the Peabody Hotel. It’s a perfect location within walking distance from Autozone Park, The FedEx Fourm, The Orpheum, and Beale Street. Kooky’s is a great restaurant and bar to start your evening at or come to wind down at. Shawn and Lana Danko opened Kooky Canuck in 2005 as the Big Foot Lodge, but changed the name in 2008. Since then, they’ve been known as Kooky Canuck.

Kooky Canuck was featured in an episode of the TV program Man v. Food. Adam Richman was taking the Kookamonga Challenge, which consists of eating the entire Kookamonga Burger and sides within 60 minutes. The burger is 4 lbs of fresh ground-chuck, two pounds of Kooky’s homemade hamburger bun, and one and a half pounds of lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, onions, and cheese. This is equivalent to seven and a half pounds total and to this day, only 10 fearless eaters have the distinction of finishing it.

This past weekend my wife and I packed up the kids, or aliens as we call them, and headed downtown for a long overdue outing to Kooky Canuck. Kooky’s has actually been on the Best Memphis Burger radar since the beginning, but for some reason I put kept putting off going. BIG MISTAKE, Seth! Recently, I got a message from Kevin, a fellow Memphis food blogger, over at Burn My Mouth. He encouraged me to get over to Kooky’s as soon as possible and that it’s his favorite burger. I promised him I would try to get there before Thanksgiving, but with the busy holiday and our having family in town, it wasn’t until the other night that I finally kept my word.

Fried PicklesKooky’s is a pretty busy place. Even at 5:30 on a Saturday evening, there was a line out the door. I’m glad I tweeted ahead and Shawn was holding us a table. We sat right down and ordered the Fried Dill Pickles appetizer. I’ve had fried pickles before and loved them, but my wife never tried them. I think she looked at me like I was crazy. I told her to just wait, she’ll love them. And she did! What we were served was completely out of the ordinary. In the past I’ve had fried pickle slices or spears. Kooky Canuck serves huge fried pickle hunks. These were awesome. Hot, crisp and juicy! I had to stop myself from going overboard as I knew I had a 1/2 lb burger coming.

I ordered the Four Cheese Burger with fries. That’s a 1/2 lb burger patty with American, Swiss, Jack and Cheddar cheese. It’s also served with lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickles. Of course I asked for it to be cooked medium. My wife ordered the regular hamburger with no cheese and asked for a medium-rare to medium temperature. My boys got the kids hamburger and kids hotdog meals which both came with fries and a big homemade rice-crispy treat.

The Burger
My wife loved the flavor of her burger, but was pretty disappointed overall. Instead of her hamburger being medium-rare or medium, it was well-done. I tried to get her to send it back, but Four Cheese Burgershe wouldn’t. She just didn’t want anything else and she wouldn’t eat any of mine which was cooked to a perfect medium temperature. She doesn’t care for cheeseburgers. Travis, who was our server, was super nice and he tried his hardest to bring her something else as well. She just didn’t want anything. My son who got the kids burger ate it right up. Even for a kids burger, it seemed a little small, but what was lacking in the size of the burger was made up for in the portion of fries. He had plenty of those to fill him up. My other son is a pretty picky eater and didn’t touch a thing on his plate. What kid won’t even eat a hotdog?

My burger, on the other hand, was out of this world. It was a huge cheeseburger on a huge bun, with cheese just oozing off the burger patty. I took one bite and knew this was a winner. It was very juicy and loaded with flavor. Kooky Canuck generously seasons its burger with what Shawn called a Canadian Steak Seasoning. Every single bite just got better than the one before it. I was expecting a good 4 star burger, but nothing like this. It was about as close to a 5 star burger as I’ve had. The meat was tender and juicy and most definitely formed from a quality ground beef mix. A perfectly cooked medium masterpiece. The hot cheeses melted together giving every bite an awesome combination of meat and cheese taste. The toppings were all fresh and portioned just right. Holding it all together was a tall and lightly toasted brioche bun that just sealed the deal. I think this bun is the king of burger buns. Even more tasty than the egg bun used at Stuffy’s and able to hold up to Kooky’s big juicy burger. This burger was a total mouthgasm and has become my new favorite.

Kooky’s french fries are nothing short of awesome as well. My son kept pointing out to me how much he loved them. They were prepared just like Five Guys and Stuffy’s, but not at all greasy. Just hot and crisp and a perfect side for a perfect burger.

I felt bad my wife didn’t enjoy her burger as much as I loved mine. She asked me not to let her experience affect my scoring. So because my burger was so enjoyable from start to finish, I give the Kooky Canuck Four Cheese Burger 4.5 out of 5 stars. It’s more like a 4.8999. I look forward to my next trip to Kooky’s and would love to get a team together to take on the Kookamonga Burger. Just for fun of course! Who’s in?

Kooky Canuck
97 S 2nd St
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 578-9800

If you have a favorite burger that you think is Memphis’ best or that I need to try and review, please drop a note in my suggestion box.

Kooky Canuck on Urbanspoon

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  14 Responses to “Kooky Canuck”

  1. Awesome that you loved it, too! I knew you would 🙂 As far as your wife’s burger, I can attest to that happening there. It really is their only fault. Sometimes they can overcook them. I went with a group of coworkers before a Grizzlies game last year and my burger was the only one that came out medium. After hyping the place up, I looked foolish, but I know from the other 100 times I’ve been there that it’s out of this world. Glad you finally made it out there! -Kevin

  2. I’m glad that you loved it. Kooky Canuck is among my top five places for burgers. That said, my favorite Kooky burger is the Mushroom Swiss burger with sautéed onions. The Four Cheese burger is good for those who like cheese, but I feel that the cheeses overwhelm the rest of the burger. Still, any Kooky burger is better than most in Memphis.

    I’m in total agreement with your assessment of the Fried Dill pickles. Coming from someone who doesn’t like them in general, the batter that Kooky uses to fry them is so crunchy, juicy and delicious that I can’t get enough of them.

    The next time you go to Kooky’s, stick around for dessert and get the Deep Dish Cookie a la mode. It’s a softball-size scoop of ice cream on top of a large (6″) cookie set in a small skillet. I get it with vanilla ice cream and a chocolate chip cookie which is perfect.

    By the way, if you need help tackling the Kookamonga Burger, I’m up for it.


  3. Yep, I’m there. Let’s set a date.

  4. I’m in. Just let me know when it’s going down!

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