Thursday, March 27, 2014

Bleachers (The Dome): 3.5/5

Hamburger3.5, $4.50

Cheese Burger3.5, $4.75

Team Burger3.1, $4.75

Bleachers Burger3.8, $5.25

Vegas Bull Burger3.6, $7.75

This week’s burger was at the historic Vendome Hotel. Constructed in 1897, the four story building at 308 Fort Street is one of Canada’s oldest. It’s also haunted by a ghost-cat. At the top of the limestone steps you’re faced with two doors; the right-hand one takes you into The Dome restaurant while the left-hand leads to Bleachers: “Winnipeg’s Oldest Sports Bar”.

I stumbled across The Dome when out for a walk in the summer. I looked up to see a curtained, picture window opening into a bright little restaurant packed with noon hour diners. I stepped over folks basking in the sun on the front steps and made my way inside to enjoy the first of many delicious "Steak and Bakes" and burgers at The Dome. The restaurant’s also popular for its inexpensive all-day breakfasts.

Happy Birthday Les!
When Burger Club arrived this week we slipped through the smokers and took the left door. It’s a long dark space; you pass a blue felted pool table, VLTs and a magnificent wooden bar on the way to the large tables at the back. The ceiling is painted with a green football field and the annex has a hockey rink above. Some of our group described the beverage room as dated, and to that I say “It is. See how you look after 117 years!” We almost lost a couple of diners that stuck their heads in the front door and were leery of making their way to the dark recesses in the back. Cary commented “Sat down in a chair partially held together by duct tape. This is my kind of place.”

I phoned the day before to make a reservation in the bar. It was Juno week and The Vendome is close enough to the MTS Centre that I was worried Randy Bachman and BTO might take our table. I told the pleasant lady on the phone we’d all be having burgers and she said she'd let Joe know. Sure enough, our tables were waiting and our smiling waitress, Daphne was right there to take our drink orders.

Daphne is great. She looks after the entire beverage room herself. The kitchen pass thru is near the front and she’s constantly running the length of the room with trays of food and dishes. Navigating the narrow channel past the bar and VLTs can be tricky and I've heard her call out “Make a hole!” There was a padlocked door next to our table. Every once in a while something would rattle it from the other side. That was a bit mysterious.

Bleachers has a burger for everybody with seven different creations on their menu. My favourite is the Vegas Bull Burger with double everything. I don’t have breakfast if I know I’m having one for lunch. If you order fries with it Daphne says “Are you sure?” The VBBs I've had in the past were big, sloppy messes and tasted great. Today's was very neatly assembled and I don't think quite as good. The patties were thick and juicy - soft but not crumbly. I quite enjoy the sweet chili sauce and maybe that’s what I usually taste, because today’s had less chili and the patties seemed relatively plain. Bess however, said her patty was flavourful. There was lots of bacon but most commented it was a little soggy. The cheddar cheese really came through. In fact, the whole assembly was nicely flavour balanced. The burgers come standard with fried onions and that makes me happy. The leaf lettuce and tomato were bright and fresh. Sadly though, the bun seemed to be recovering from a rough night out.

Mike commented “The server was right; we did not need to order fries. The Vegas Bull was more than enough. Two beef patties and two types of pork (bacon and ham) - it was meatalicious. The hint of chili on the bottom was excellent.”

As usual I was up and running around taking pictures. My bun top started to slide off in my absence, and Brett built a little retaining wall using my drink glass. Brett noted “Tim and I need clear rules regarding bun touching” – he wasn't comfortable handling my bun. Brett also raised the question of proper bacon measurements when he described his VBB having “Many rashers of bacon if a rasher means "big slice" or one rasher if rasher means "big pile.""

Joe with a Double Joe Burger
Photo: Derek Kristofor (Facebook)
April had the Bleachers Burger and wrote “The mozza mushroom burger was very good.  The bun was great and, while not the most flavourful burger I have eaten (note, I held the chili), it was a fantastic burger for the price.” Bleachers is inexpensive - even cheaper when you realize the menu prices include taxes.

The side orders of fries were plentiful, but “McCains”. For those lucky enough to have them cooked to browness, they weren't too bad. Those that got undercooked fries were sad. Heed the warning when the waitress asks “Are you sure?” to the fries.

Bleachers Sports Bar & Cafe on Urbanspoon


  1. As a regular at Bleachers, I'd suggest getting hash browns or a chef salad (made with fresh turkey and roast beef) rather than fries.

  2. Tell me more about this ghost cat!


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