A war is raging at the corner of Highway 10 and Highway 89 in Primrose, Ontario. There are no shell craters or barbed wire but the road separating Super Burger and Champ Burger at the entrance to the Grey Bruce Peninsula, is a no man’s land in a decades old burger battle.
The original burger joint is Super Burger, a 50’s style restaurant with a slowly decaying old TTC streetcar serving as a seating area. The place has changed hands a few times recently, but still commands considerable loyalty from cottagers escaping the city.
Opened across the street in 1992, Champ Burger is newer and brighter, but serves almost the identical menu.
“It’s a war” says Champ Burger owner Stan Dimakos.
He describes how some families are so divided: they drop dad off at Super Burger before they cross the street to eat at Champs and then return to pick up their father when finished.
“You have to pick sides” he said.
Dimakos says he actually has a pretty good relationship with the new owners of Super Burger, who declined to speak to Global News, but the tension comes from customers and especially from staff.
In fact, while grilling up some banquet burgers, Champ grill guy Mic Hayward indulges in a bit of trash talk, telling me how sometimes Super Burger staff eat lunch in enemy territory, because the Champ burger is better.
Super Burger grill man MacKenzie Seymour says he’s never gone to the dark side for lunch but can’t vouch for his colleagues. The rivalry exists says Seymour, but it’s not a Sharks and Jets sort of thing, referring to the warring, dancing and singing gangs from West Side Story.
For customers, each has a different reason for picking either east or west side of the street.
“This one looks classy,” says a man from Brampton stopping at Super Burger on his way north.
Across the street a woman finishing up a large lunch, extols the simple advantage of Champ Burger.
“They sell beer here, Super Burger doesn’t,” she said.
With a generation having grown up with one or the other, the two independent burger restaurants now have kids and grandkids carrying the torch of their favourite burger and fry stop. More than 20 years in, this war between Super Burger and Champ Burger shows no sign of ever ending.