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7218 MacLeod Trail SE
Calgary, AB
T2H 0L9



Wunder BunWunder Bun’s Overall Score: 55/100

Overall experience 4/10
Harvey’s makes a hamburger…A Beautiful stink. I’m trying to be objective here, but a serious case of frontal and rear blowback are causing me to sit in my chair with those gas bubbles that push hard at the steam clamp and then bubble back up to the stomach to gain momentum; hammering back a few minutes later with double the force. My day at work is now a fart holding contest that I’m losing.

1 point for that old school tube neon sign
1 point because the lady serving me was pleasant
1 point because, as my chiropractor pointed out, there was a chair and table.
1 point because you are stupid enough to feel like you are doing something new with beige

Read the full review...

Bun 26/30
I rather liked this interesting bun. It leans heavy on the side of sweet and rather than being a sopper I found that this bun is a musher. I’m not saying the bun is soggy, it actually holds up rather well but when you bite into this bun the sweetness melts into your tongue and the bun dissolves away leaving you to enjoy the toppings in relation to the meat. The starch is still there but has gracefully transformed its texture to dance with the cheese and mayo letting the salad and the patty to dance front stage. When you stage your patty this way your meat had better be a star.

Meat 5/30
You know when you get a California roll and you pretend that stick of red and white dyed pollock is actually crab meat? On this quest I pretended that reconstituted, eviscerated cartilage and meat matter pressed into a puck shape was a hamburger patty. The tooth on this burger has a foam like snap as your teeth pressure through some sort of processed skin that holds in the chemicals used to inform the meat with favors of smoke and salt.

Toppings 20/30
Given the opportunity to choose your own toppings I always go for the classic bacon and cheese dressed with mayo mustard and the classic salad of lettuce,tomato, raw onion and dill pickle. I have to give Harvey’s credit here, my tomato slices were cherry red and with two thick slices must have cost a fortune considering that it is January in Alberta. Shredded lettuce was a nice touch usually not my choice, but this played a role in the great dissolving bun trick I described earlier. Every thing was crisp and in high standards except for the pickle. What a wilted, half sour, seedy, flaccid, goo ball of an excuse for sour snap. I would go on but I will refer you to WhiteGray’s words. Gravy flew into a red faced tempest of a rant. I mean this thing physically took hold of Gravy like a southern preacher with hell fire for a fist and the devils boot on this piss soaked cucumber.

Other considerations
I had some onion rings….good enough. The use Heinz catsup….expected. I had a few nice words with some slices of smokey bacon and a piece of American cheddar that feel like they deserve a shot at the big leagues, I agreed with them ace to face but later had my doubts.

Listen, I don’t know who Harvey is, sounds like a Banger to me; but my guess is that Harvey was or is a decent enough guy that comes to your house to sell you religion, insurance or Tupperware and ends up asking to borrow your bathroom to go number two. I mean Harvey genuinely gave me a unique and unexpected bun experience (insert frat joke here) and then spoiled it with the compressed frappe patty. Then he delivers some of the coldest and most fresh toppings yet on the quest but insists on a pickle that is more akin to something sliced out of a green toy at some seedy adult store. Harvey, go next door and steal a bucket of pickles from one of your corporate neighbors, charge me 50 more cents for real meat and you will have a burger that will let you put that coffin you are building for your business back in storage.

Final Evaluation: What would you do to have one of these again?
I would steal my own identity to have my bank accounts frozen so that I would not have the means to buy another one of these. But stay optimistic Harvey, if there is ever a stinky fart event at the Olympics I would be proud if you would sponsor me as one of your assletes.


Flavour SabreFlavour Sabre’s Overall Score: 32/100

Overall experience 4/10
Harvey’s has no personality. None. It was slightly dirty and was totally uninviting. This was evidenced by the terrible chairs. The chairs have this weird back support that stops midway up your back. So, instead of supporting your back while eating, the metal bars start causing a pain across your spine. The chairs at Harvey’s are the equivalent of the convertible couch.

The staff was very friendly, so Harvey’s gets points for that.

Read the full review...

Bun 10/30
I’m not too sure what I disliked more about this bun, the fact that it was poorly toasted, making the inside rock hard while leaving the outside a squishy mess, or the fact that it had absolutely no flavour to contribute to the overall burger. If I had to guess, I am pretty sure that they bought this bun from a gas station. Gas station grocery shopping is in case of emergency only, bachelor living, or desperation. Take your pick, they all result in a bad meal.

The one plus of this bun, which is why I gave it points, is that the bottom piece of the bun was a good size preventing the ever present bottom bun run out prior to top bun run out problem in the burger world.

Meat 3/30
Absolutely terrible. Just horrible. Gross. Can’t believe I ate that. Self loathing. Do it for the quest.

Here is the best description of the meat at Harvey’s: you know when you have a sponge that you have been using for too long in the kitchen, that has torn corners, looks germy, and smells a bit? Then you look at it and you think, “geez, that’s sick. I’m going to get rid of that. No way I want that in my house.” Well, instead of throwing it out, you put some artificial smoke flavour on it, fry it up, and serve it as a burger. That is the meat at Harvey’s.

Toppings 15/30
Very slight redemption here for an overall terrible product. The tomatoes were good and the lettuce was fresh, but the pickles…I could have taken a pickle and thrown it against the wall and it would have stuck. I’m willing to bet money on that. See Gravy’s review for the truth about Harvey’s pickles. Side note – we discovered that Gravy is a bit of a burger Rain Man on this quest.

Also, there was no sense of proportion or flavour balance in the toppings. I asked for onions, lettuce, and tomatoes and I got about a million onions, a half a slice of tomato, and two scoops of lettuce. Yeah, that’s exactly what I wanted.

Then there was the bacon, if you could call it that. Stringy, fatty, and mushy. It did absolutely nothing for my burger flavour-wise. In fact, it took away from the experience overall. Congratulations Harvey’s, you managed to mess up bacon. How the hell do you mess up bacon? It’s one of the few slam dunks in the food world. I’m so full of rage right now.

Other considerations
The fries were pretty good and I lament the fact that I did not take advantage of the frings option – half onion rings and half fries. It’s a great idea, and as far as I know it, Harvey’s is alone in this offering.

To go along with my fries I got some Heinz 57…in packets. COME ON! Packets? This is not drive through. Packets are the absolute worst. Hey, thanks for the packet of ketchup that will cover one fry while messing up my hands and making them stink of ketchup for the rest of the day. Get with the times, Harvery’s. Invest in the pump and dixie cup.

Also, I don’t want to go into great detail here, so all I will say is that Harvey’s gave me a serious case of the farts. My dog had to leave the room it was so bad.

Being this angry is making me tired.

Final Evaluation: What would you do to have one of these again?
Harvey’s is the Arby’s of the hamburger world. I think you can take it from here.


White GravyWhite Gravy’s Overall Score: 56/100

Overall experience 3/10
There’s no atmosphere here – this is a fast food joint….emphasis on FAST. They want you in and out of there RIGHT NOW.

What makes Harvey’s unique is that they don’t even appear to try and hide that fact. How else can you explain the most uncomfortable seats in the world. The back of the chair goes up halfway so it’s settling in nicely riiiiight in the sweet spot at the small of your back. Add in rock hard seats and trust me – you’ll be out of there in 20 minutes max.

I do give credit to Harvey’s for recognizing it is ALL about the burger. A few years back Harvey’s re-branded…you may recall their “Long Live the Grill” campaign that was at the centre of the ill-advised re-positioning. The stores also received big updates including new menus that included a bunch of weird stuff like a Salmon burger. Well after about a year they realized that was just a bad idea and reverted back to their previous strategy. Now when you walk in there you are greeted with big beautiful images of their burgers and everything is focused on that part of the menu. You can try and order a hot dog but only if you want to risk being openly mocked by the staff (and me if I happen to be there at the time).

Read the full review...

Bun 21/30
For a fast food join this is a pretty solid bun. There was some initial concern that it was too small – particularly if you like to take advantage of all of the avialable toppings and load up. But it managed to stand up through the meal.

Harvey’s makes a big deal about their buns being “lightly toasted” and I have no problem with them tooting their own horn here. Frankly, there’s no excuse for any burger place not to give their buns a little toast, but few actually do.

It kinda chaps my hide that their buns don’t have sesame seeds. Take a little peek at the Harvey’s logo…what’s that on the bun…sesame seeds! If you are going to have them as part of your damn logo make sure you ACTUALLY have them. Bush-league move Harv.

Meat 17/30
Expectations should be tempered when it comes to the beef at any major fast food burger chain. We all know that these are frozen, pre-formed, simulated-flavored patties…so let’s not pretend otherwise.

Harvey’s probably fits in near the upper scale when comparing fast food burgers when it comes to meat – in part because it is flame-grilled. But there is something odd about the meat when it comes to the texture…and not odd in a good way.

However, there is a good taste, and the burger is well cooked. For a major fast food chain – this is probably about as good as it is going to get.

Toppings 15/30
Ok let’s talk about pickles.

When you walk into Harvey’s they proclaim proudly that you are going to enjoy their “Famous Pickles.”

Yeah well famous pickles my ass.

It used to be the case but around 5 years ago it seems like Harv went cheap and switched up the pickle supply. What used to be a beautiful, crunchy, flavorful pickle was replaced with a squishy-soft dill that is FULL of seeds. Your pickles suck now Harv so stop talking about or better yet go back to the old dills.

Harvey’s also makes a MASSIVE deal over the fact you get to select your ingredients. The reality is that in any burger chain you can get them to construct your burger anyway you want…so this isn’t really a big advantage. Moreover – you are still relying on someone to get the mix of ingredients right. For instance my burger was way too relishy…the green stuff completely obliterated some of the other key tastes. The ketchup, mustard and mayo was ALL lost by a full on “shock and awe” assault by relish.

Harvey’s does score points for shredded lettuce, and the overall selection and freshness of toppings available.

Other considerations
A few comments here.

- If you are going to have huge signs out front talking about your new fancy “Spicy Onion Bacon Burger” make sure you don’t run out of spicy onions! Nothing is more unimpressive than a hand-made sign taped up to the menu saying “SOLD OUT”. Lame.
- Some day we will live in a world where a man won’t have to choose between onion rings and fries – at Harvey’s that world has already arrived with “Frings”. Thank you Harvey.
- Harvey’s has rockin’ poutine. It fits outside the bounds of our work here on BQ but you know – if you happen to be there give it a whirl.

Final Evaluation: What would you do to have one of these again?
When I briefly lived in Vancouver Friday’s was Harvey’s Day. You see, in Vancouver there aren’t any Harvey’s except for at the airport (at least that was the case back then) so each week displaced Calgarians would head out to YVR to get their Harv on. Seems weird but when you are craving that taste of home you’ll do strange things.

I was part of that group but after stepping back and really assessing these burgers – there is no way I would do that anymore. Asking me to contend with Macleod Trail traffic to hit up one of the few remaining Harvey’s in Calgary is already stretching things.



Harvey's (71st Ave) on Urbanspoon

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