Burgatory wants to put a little hedonism into your lunch hour. The food truck tempts diners with deadly sins-themed fast-food treats. No, they’re not related to Toronto’s other Biblically-themed burger joint – and they have no religious affiliation. Unless burgers count.
In contrast to all the fire and brimstone of the truck’s branding, the family-focused origins of the business are actually pretty darn wholesome.
Co-owner Alexei Van Petegem says his mom was a stellar home cook who’d previously worked in kitchens. Upon graduating from Wilfried Laurier University in 2011, he worked a few odd jobs before following in her footsteps with a gig in the kitchen at the Dakota Tavern.
“It was a good launch pad, because I got super excited about food, I started making stuff at home a lot more than I used to, playing around with ingredients and trying to up the ante a little bit.”
Together, the mother and son decided to open up a food truck of their own, tossing around names and concepts. “Burgatory just seemed to stick,” Van Petegem says, adding the concept allowed them to have fun with menu ideas while still filling a hole in the market.
“For Toronto, there’s nobody else doing a gourmet burger truck. I think we found a little niche in the market, which is exciting.”
Their lineup of burgers is made of a mix of Cumbrae’s ground brisket, shoulder and rib, and nestled on brioche buns.
The menu currently includes the super-spicy Wrath, with jalapeno havarti cheese and “Hell sauce”; Sloth, which piles on the sloppy toppings like Velveeta and hickory sticks; Greed, which gets a smoky kick from bourbon BBQ sauce and smoked bacon; Pride, a healthy mushroom-cap burger topped with feta and pesto; and Envy, which is green with Argentinian chimichurri sauce and guacamole.
Lust, meanwhile, is about to be introduced as a dessert option: A skewer of donuts dipped in salted dulce de leche sauce.
You could argue that the whole menu is a tribute to Gluttony, but for Van Petegem, it’s represented in their indulgent “Heaven” truffle oil and parmesan fries. (He adds they’re about to roll out their “Hell” counterpart – Cajun-spiced sweet potato fries.)
“This is kind of just the beginning for us. We’re really excited – we really want this thing to take off,” Van Petegem says. “We’re not in it just to make money – we’re moreso in it to satisfy people. We just love cooking. We’re in it for the passion of it. And I think with that comes success.”