789 Northmount Drive Northwest
Wunder Bun’s Overall Score: 34/100
You have moments of clarity in life where things just feel like they are going to work out. Moments that put you on the cusp of realizing or experiencing something that will change the trajectory of your soul. There are certain backdrops, images, sounds and smells that can trigger the most surreal cocktail of mind chemicals that mix themselves so fully with your most deep seeded and subconscious core beliefs that your true self reaches from inside you and gives your whole being a hug. If you like the sound of that then stop reading because this is a write up on how a burger gave me the squirts.
Read the full review...
Everything felt like it was right. Clean environment, vintage drive in with picnic tables and a samurai making me a burger… this is awesome. Then, there it was. The most surreal cocktail of culinary chemicals that mix themselves so fully with meat byproduct that your most intimate gastrointestinal fears are realized in visions. Visions of long spanning bathroom time where you will ponder what the color of that patty you ate really is. A few hours after this quest, whilst sitting on the porcelain physician blasting shotgun pellets through a slurpee, I had the time needed to come up with a new name to define the unique color of the meat that I was now prematurely expediting. I came up with greyige, like Benifer or Brangelina.
Overall experience 9/10
This score might seem a bit out of whack. I will admit that I have had to remove the burger itself from this equation to come up with a near perfect score. Somewhere between kindness and being completely entertained by the till wielding Samurai, I am throwing this high score at nostalgia and the hope of a better burger at CB’s Drive Inn some day. Unfortunately we now must delve into the unsavory. I think from the extended intro that you have already guessed that writing about this burger is going to be a blow out..or is it a wipe out? Whatever, lets get on with the paperwork.
You have had this bun as many times as I have. Someone invites you to their house for BBQ burgers and they have forgotten to get hamburger buns. So someone hops in a car or runs to the gas station or corner store for that last package of dusty toadstool tops with sesame seeds on them. You literally can get this bun anywhere. You can leave the empty bag from these buns in your garbage and the homeless guy that rummages through your cans will leave the bottles so you can claim the deposit.
This greyige patty conjured up images of dish scrubbers used only for caked on food and cleaning the dog bowl. It also had a resemblance to Jeff Goldblum’s character in his final scenes of The Fly where he has those weird gelatinous googley eyes that are barely holding on to mucus covered pipe cleaners. It wasn’t easy, but I’m committed and I loved the guy taking my order so I thought I’d help him out by trying to cover up this horror show of a patty with CB’s chili. I know what you are thinking and yes! I am one part billy goat and one part stupid idiot.
For some reason, when I road trip to the US, I can’t help but crave Mexican. For lack of better judgement I always try to ease these cravings with gas station burritos. I eat those things down like I’m in Cancun when really I’m only in Great Falls Montana. I push a little further down interstate25 until blowback forces me into the Flying J in Helena. Truckers that roll through there mythically refer to me as Gringo Chernobyl. The chili I ordered with my CB’s burger tasted like a gas station burrito went out on a tequila bender and threw its guts up on my burger. Having said that the chili did achieve its intended objective and masked the flavors of a few scabby bits of white iceberg lettuce, some condiments, flavorless cheese. Unfortunately, it could only half mask the flavor of the patty.
I think CB’s is missing a marketing angle. “HOME OF THE I CAN’T COME INTO WORK BECAUSE I HAVE DIARRHEA BURGER” or for the new age yoga types you could have the “GUT SPONGE” or what about another hybrid name like “Suppositurger”?
Maybe you only want to work a half day. Come back from a burger lunch at CB’s with a gut like a steam boiler and blast off a couple of times. Your boss, at the bequest of those around you, will insist you take the rest of the day off because the team thinks you work hard and deserve it. Bear in mind your afternoon will not be spent on a patio taking in some sun. More likely It will be in a bathroom browsing the type of magazine that helped popularize terms like Benifer and Brangelina.
Now I have had some fun at the expense of the burger itself at CB’s but I cannot stop thinking about what this place almost is. Everything else hits the mark. Krinkle cut fries looked and were reported to be amazing by the man I trust with my potatoes; White Gravy. I opted for the onion rings and a milkshake. Though not the greatest, they would definitely bring this boy to the yard again. The building itself is nostalgic and built for a quintessential warm summer night burger romance. Im assuming the fella that took my order is the owner, and he is second to none for his character driven charisma. I want him to call me and yell orders at me to be more like him.
This place has been around forever, so I’m sorry to the locals and the high school students that keep the place running. The truth is I want to see CB’s rise to the occasion to make sure that one of Calgary’s last legacy burger locations is not torn down for some greyige colored stucco atrocity that caters to big business.
CB’s, I know you are surviving on high school kids and locals that have swam in this water for too long. By the golden rule of business, “know your customer,” I may be an idiot for suggesting change, but despite being an idiot this billy goat will eat a rubber boot but not a rubber burger.
Final Evaluation: What would you do to have one of these again?
Honestly I won’t do anything for it the way it is, but I will return to eat only fries, onion rings and shakes if that means it will keep them viable until they see the potential of all that they are doing right and try that in conjunction with a better burger.
Flavour Sabre’s Overall Score: 19/100
There was a time when going out and spending an evening in your car was the thing to do. The drive in theater, the drive through burger joint, and the cool car wash were things that people in my parent’s generation grew up with on account of widening access to cars. People were seeing movies, making out, eating burgers and getting a car wash all in one evening all thanks to the car. Sounds like a pretty good time to me. So what does my generation have? Thanks to the toxic oil fire that ruined the drive in theater, all we have is drive through fast food and drive through banking, the ultimate in fat assedness. Like most things, after everyone gains access, people lose sight of the core element that piqued their interest in the first place. The car went from being a social vehicle (rim shot, please) to a tool of convenience. Car culture lost its soul, no matter how many times the advertisers tell you otherwise.
Read the full review...
CB’s Drive Inn is one of the very few remaining true drive ins in town. It harkens back to a time when Calgary really was a small town and a quieter less hectic place to live. You can drive up, park your car, breathe in a bit of exhaust, and eat under an awning while the traffic goes by. It’s a bit run down but that doesn’t matter; this place has soul and character. It also has an absolutely terrible hamburger.
This bun in pretty embarrassing. I felt almost ashamed to be seen in public eating it. This bun reminds of the spare wheel some cars have; you know the one I’m talking about. The little dinky one that makes you look ridiculous and tells everyone, “hey, I thought I had a full sized spare in my trunk, but it turns out that the manufacturer put this dinky thing in the back instead. What could I do? I was in a jam. The tire says I can’t go over fifty kilometers per hour and if I travel more than 50 kilometers it will explode. So, the tire making me drive super slow for the next hour is also ruining your day since I am slowing traffic down. I’m not happy about it either. The only solace is found in the fact that the tire may explode and kill me before I find a gas station, saving me from further embarrassment when having to deal with the 15 year old attendant.”
What the hell is this?
Many years ago, my family rented a car while on vacation in the summer. We were driving and saw a fruit stand and pulled over to buy some delicious looking grapes. Placing the grapes on the dash, we took off and continued driving until we decided to take a break and walk around and stretch our legs. The short walk turned into a long one and when we came back, we found the grapes on the dash had already started to turn into raisins on account of the intense heat in the car. They were sloppy and liquidy, so we threw them out and had a good chuckle about how we were silly to not even think about the possibility of this happening.
The toppings at CB’s give me the impression that they were sitting on the dash of someone’s car for quite some time, possibly run over, then slapped on the burger with a ton of sauce to mask “the taste,” and that the joke was on me for being such an idiot to even consider, let alone actually consume this food. Normally I would complain about no pickle and no tomato, but in this case I think it was a blessing in disguise and perhaps a saved trip to the ER.
I feel bad about giving the burger here such a rough ride (rim shot, again. Hiyo!) because the place is pretty charming. The guy who takes your order yells the order in a super loud powerful samurai voice to his wife, who is standing about two feet away from him and clearly heard what I just asked for. I don’t know if he is playing it up or not, but either way it’s awesome. And even though the burger was terrible and gave me instantaneous dragon fire blowback, I didn’t feel ripped off. The burger here cost $3 dollars. I paid a low price for a shitty product. Seems fair to me.
In fact, they have other things on the menu, like shakes, that I wouldn’t mind trying, especially since it would give me the chance to experience the place again. This place has personality, and personality goes a long way.
Final Evaluation: What would you do to have one of these again?
Well, the burger was absolutely horrendous and made me quite ill in the gastrointestinal area (classy talk for the trots,runs, shits, mud butt, assplosions, sharts). It also made me question my existence and the decision making process in my life that led me to this point. I don’t need any of that when I go for a burger, so I won’t be having another one of these.
White Gravy’s Overall Score: 28/100
For anyone that grew up in NW Calgary, CB’s Drive-in ranks right up there with some of Calgary’s other better known burger hot spots (Peter’s, Boogies, etc). But is it another case of nostalgia being mistaken for quality?
Overall Experience 9/10
Located on Northmount Drive, just off 14th Street, CB’s is best suited for teens packed into an old Volvo station wagon, looking for cheap eats. There is no inside seating, so you can choose between chowing down on one of their many picnic tables or in your car. CB’s itself is just a small shack that is large enough for a few people to line-up to order in, but not much else. The walls are plastered with photos of regular patrons…the bulk of which appear to be from the nearby schools.
Read the full review...
The menu itself is surprisingly diverse. Apart from standard fare (Burgers, fries, onion rings) there is an impressive array of sides (Deep Fries Shrooms, Zucchini Sticks, Pizza Pops), other meals (Chicken Fingers, Shrimp, Fish and Chips) and bevies (shakes and screams…a mix of a slushy and a milkshake). But be aware that almost all this stuff appears to be frozen-pop-it-in-the-fryer type of food. If that’s your deal then you’ll love CB’s.
The owner/operator of CB’s is a real character. From his jovial greeting, to bellowing your order to his wife/cook (even though she is right behind him)…ordering your meal from him is worth the trip alone. I would throw him up on the Calgary Food Wall of Fame alongside Gus Pieters, “that guy from Chicken on the Way”, and Nick (from Nick’s Steakhouse).
Not a lot of dough is being invested in this bun. I suspect that they are ordering the cheapest bun they can from their vendor. This bun was crumbly, dry, and barely held together. Yet surprisingly it was probably the best part of this rather pathetic burger. It’s downhill from here folks.
That’s the best word to describe this meat. I don’t mean to be harsh but it is really quite terrible. Clearly this is a low-cost frozen beefy patty. Taking a little nibble of the beef alone I found it to be completely tasteless. It didn’t taste good, or bad, it just didn’t taste. Basically the burger patty is functioning entirely as a textural component. And it even manages to completely fail in that regard thanks to its chewiness.
The bacon is equally as bad – and in fact made me wonder if it had been microwaved. Bacon should NEVER be microwaved. NEVER. Those that do microwave bacon should be charged with crimes against humanity.
It is damn hard to make a good burger when your meat is this awful.
CB’s has attempted to hide the fact that there actual meat has no taste but drowning everything in BBQ sauce. This overpowers the taste of anything else this burger has to offer – including the rather limp piece of lettuce that was included. The only positive was that the cheese was nicely melted – tossed onto the burger at just the right time. 5 points for ya there CB.
There’s a place in this world for cheap, quick food and honestly that’s what CB’s is all about. We have often complained about the price of burgers here on BQ, so it is only fair that we commend CB”s for being absolutely DIRT cheap. You can get your burger, fries and a shake for close to 5 bucks…that’s getting to be hard to find. Their wheelhouse is highschool kids with just a few bills to spend, so they keep prices down. I get that.
I would also point out that the fries are VERY tasty. These crinkle-cut little gems were well seasoned and deep fried perfectly. I found myself wolfing them down, while my half-eaten burger was abandoned mid-meal.
One more Public Service Note: the intersection of 14th Street and Northmount Drive has one of those pesky “speed on red” traffic cameras….so if you are heading to CB’s slow it right down to 50 or risk a hefty ticket. That god forsaken thing has cost me hundreds of dollars in the last year.
Final evaluation: What would you do to have one of these again?
CB’s can be summed up in a short phrase: Damn good fries…god-awful burgers.
I live about 10 minutes from CB’s and have for most of my life. Yet I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve gone there. That being said, I would have no problem popping by CB’s for some fries and a shake…and I’ll even risk yet another traffic ticket to do so.