“It’s a real burger experience – delicious, tasty and juicy,” says Adalia Jetha Ramji. “Everyone’s had cheap, processed burgers from fast food restaurants like McDonald’s but with Vera’s you can taste and feel the difference, it’s the real deal,” adds her husband, Anthony Ramji.

Voted “Best Burger” by the people for the last seven years, Vera’s Burger Shack, located in the Vancouver, BC area, has received numerous accolades since it expanded in 2001 as a franchise, including Reader’s Choice Awards for the Best Burger/Hamburger from The Georgia Straight, The Vancouver Courier, and Westender newspapers.

“It’s simple. Vera’s has won all the awards because of the quality of the food,” says Luigi de Buzzaccarini, the co-owner, and operator of two Vera’s restaurants. “From our fresh meat to our condiments, we only use high-quality produce and products, then cook the burger to juicy, tasty perfection. A bonus is that customers can customize their ingredients to suit their personal tastes, further enhancing their Vera’s experience.”

The History Behind Vancouver Restaurant’s Award-Winning Burgers

Vera’s Burger Shack started off as a beach concession stands at Dundarave Pier in West Vancouver in 1977, which was run and operated by Vera and her husband Frank. In 2000, Gerald Tritt, a family friend, took over the concession. Since 2001, Tritt along with his partner Noah Cantor, a professional football player, expanded the Vera’s Burger Shack franchise to 11 locations in British Columbia.

The de Buzzaccarini family owns and operates the Main Street and Commercial Drive locations, and both sons, Luigi and Ferdinando started off working at the original Vera’s concession as a part-time job in the summer of 2000. They were with the company, as it expanded from the concession to three locations in the Kitsilano, Davie, and Denman neighborhoods. They continued to work for Vera’s as area managers while attending university.

After working for Vera’s for seven years, the brothers had learned everything they needed to know about the restaurant business. “At that point in time, Vera’s seemed like a great investment as the brand awareness in Vancouver kept growing. The numbers looked good, and the possibility to expand was great,” says de Buzzaccarini. He, along with his brother and parents, bought into Vera’s franchise and opened up two locations in 2007: Main St. in January, and Commercial Dr. in July.

The Vera’s Burger Shack Experience

Phil Read, a customer who has been visiting the Vera’s Main St. restaurant for the last three years with his son, rates Vera’s burger 9 out of 10, and describes the atmosphere as “cozy, yet free of frills, and the food is really good value,” adding that “some high-end burger joints are dollars more but the value isn’t quite there.”

Burgers
Closeup of a homemade burger

Anthony Ramji often visits Vera’s with his friends and wife, and describes the restaurants as “fine dining with a realistic price, as the quality of the food meets fine dining standards, but Vera’s is also down-to-earth with a warm, friendly atmosphere. It’s definitely the place to be to get a beer, burger and watch the game.”

The Main St. and Commercial Dr. restaurants have flat-screen televisions usually playing the latest sports, from hockey and soccer to basketball and football. In addition, the Commercial Dr. location serves hard alcohol and wine, in addition to beer from the Granville Island Brewery, a popular Canadian microbrewery.

The Vera’s restaurant menu is expansive and features a range of items, such as basic and specialty burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, chicken fingers, salads and sides, such as fries, onion rings, and poutine. Some of Vera’s basic burgers include The Vera Burger; a classic hamburger; The Natural Burger; all natural and organic beef; Lamb and Veggie Burgers; The Pilgrim Turkey Burger and the BBQ Chicken Burger.

If you’re looking for a specialty burger, Vera’s has diverse options, such as the Power Burger with a single patty, a fried egg, cheese, and fried onions; the BBQ Burger, single patty with provolone cheese, bacon, fried onions and BBQ sauce; the Baja Burger, single patty with salsa, guacamole, cheese and hot peppers; and lastly the Doug Special, which can only be eaten at the restaurants, as its open-faced, double patty with cheese, fried onions and chili. In 2008, Vancouver Magazine did a feature, “101 Things to Taste Before You Die,” and The Doug Special made the list at number 20.

“Customers return for the amazing staff,” chuckles Rosanna Astorino, who has been working for 1.5 years at the Vera’s Main St. restaurant. “But in all seriousness, Vera’s is consistent and it’s not a hit and miss experience. Customers always know they’re going to get a good quality burger made with the freshest ingredients, and that they won’t be disappointed.”