Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Kelekis (closed): 3.7/5

Fatboy (Yaleburger) $5.50 - Score: 3.9

Bacon Burger $5.00 - Score: 3.3

Cheeseburger $4.50: not evaluated

Today Burger Club visited a Winnipeg institution. Kelekis has been around in its restaurant form since the 1940s - it was a chip truck before that. It’s charming and you walk past the open kitchen surrounded by counter stools on your way back to the dark dining room with walls covered in head shots of celebrities that have visited Kelekis over the years. When I asked if our waitress would mind taking our picture, she went and got the “official photographer”. They have an official photographer! As always, the discussion came up - is it pronounced Ka-lee-kiss or KA-LECK-IS?

This week one of Burger Club’s members was frolicking Toronto, so the blog’s anchor picture will represent in her absence. It was also a special week because one of Burger Club’s founding stomachs had a birthday. Not only that, it was the first time he’d ever blown out birthday candles - or anything else at Burger Club without spraying Coke. You’ll be happy to know we did not break into an annoying and off key rendition of Happy Birthday. However, Brett and Cary did do a respectable job of the theme to the “King of Kensington” after spotting Al Waxman (R.I.P.) gazing down on our table.

The menu is interesting. First, Kelekis places the same value on a slice of tomato as bacon! Those that opted for the 50 cent tomato were treated to a nice thick slab of very ripe tomato. Also, you have your choice of a small or large fountain drink, but the refills are free. You decide! The burgers are small and priced a little high - the Fatboy (called a Yaleburger at Kelekis) is $5.50. You got your choice of onions - either raw or fried. I’m a fan of fried, but Dani ordered raw and exclaimed “Awesome! The burger came with a full slice of onion!!” Most of us ordered the small fries, which came served in a little bowl on the side. Interestingly enough our waitress decided they looked a little skimpy and put down a couple more bowls of fries for the table to share. Nice!

I usually opt for a double burger and skip the fries, and this week I wish I’d stuck to my modus operandi and ordered the double Yaleburger without fries because the single was a little small. It was a hand formed patty with a fair amount of filler and quite crumbly. It was tasty but a bit meat-loafy. The bun did its job admirably but was cold. It was a bit of a messy burger and to borrow a term from the Breakfast Connoisseurs, there was slurge.

Scott had this to say: “There is nothing like the taste and presentation of Winnipeg's original "Nip". This was not as much a lunch as it was an experience. You will pay less at other places, but you won't enjoy it as much.”

One conscientious Burger Clubber ordered his burger “to go” so he could get back to work, and had this unfortunate experience: “Well. I ordered a burger; and overall I would say everything was great except for the burger, which is all I ordered. This is based mostly on the fact that I took two bites out of it and then discovered it was raw. I'm not from Paris so I wasn't used to this. Last I checked Kelekis wasn't a French last name either, so I am guessing this is not what she intended. Considering I had to microwave it before eating I'm not sure I can judge the rest fairly.” The rest of the table’s burgers were cooked properly.

One of the other fascinating things about Kelekis is the washroom. You navigate your way through the rear kitchen and into the basement then wind your way through a twisting concrete passage until you finally reach the throne. I’m pretty sure it’s a washroom in the building across the street.

C. Kelekis on Urbanspoon


  1. When we went there as a family, Tana was too scared to go to the john herself since it was in the bowels of the earth and she passed James Mason in character for http://www.imdb.com/video/screenplay/vi3507357465/.

    1. Haha, ya, I remember going there as child with my family and being scared of the basement too. Thought there were ghosts down there.

      Regardless, loved going to Kelekis all the same. One of my favourite double bacon cheeseburgers and the best chips (fries) in Winnipeg!

  2. I hear that Kelekis is closing. Say it ain't true. You'd have to build a restaurant in a cave under the Countess of Dufferin to match the atmosphere of the old K.

  3. Good-bye Kelekis, you were a good friend. Loved every Yaleburger platter. It will be hard to replace ya.

    Thanks for the memories.


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