For over 15 years, I have been heading to cottage country on the well-travelled Highway 11. Always passing the famous Weber’s sign, its burger stand ( a large one story trailer-like building) and typically its long line of parents, kids and grandparents waiting to sample Weber’s signature BBQ take-out burgers and fries.
Finally, this summer I decided to bite the bullet, or the cheeseburger, as the case may be. In the past, I was always late rushing to cottage country and I never seemed to have the time or inclination to stop at Webers. For fear I would lose a minute or 60 minutes of valuable and rare cottage time.
But this year, I am a single guy. I have time on my hands. In fact, nothing but time.
So for the first time in years, I have been checking out what’s all the fuss with this long-standing and very successful burger stand.
This famous burger stand is located outside of the town of Orillia, about a ten minute drive to Muskoka cottage country, centred off the towns of Gravenhurst and Bracebridge. Or if you are coming from Toronto to Muskoka- Weber’s is the halfway point.
Or in answer to the plaintive cries of kids in the back seat, “Are we there, yet?”
No, but we’re half there and we’re at Weber’s. WooHoo!!!
Weber’s is also the “ go to” burger place for cottagers heading to Parry Sound, Haliburton, the Kawarthas, Huntsville, Lake of Bays and even further north along Highway 11- North Bay and beyond.
Weber’s has been in business at this location since 1963! Basically, serving burgers, fries, soft drinks and in association with local Kawartha Dairy ( which has an adjoining stand)- ice cream, shakes and smoothies.
There are many reasons for Weber’s success.
It is extremely well-run and organized. Notwithstanding the long lines, they move very quickly, because there appear to be an army of friendly young people efficiently taking your orders in line, coming back with the bill, taking your cash (Weber’s only takes cash and provides change on the spot) even before you enter the assembly line of cooks- indoors.
See photo of me under the sign with cheeseburger, fries with gravy and soft drink in hand.
In side there are more friendly and very helpful young men and women preparing your burgers and fries, and filling your individual order.
Older dudes. Grizzled grilling veterans seem to be manning the multiple BBQ grills.
Many parents grab the boxes of burgers, fries and drinks and head back into their cars to eat their lunch or dinner in transit. Other families can been seen eating at the various colorful picnic tables located in the front and the back of the Weber’s stand.
In case of rain, families can eat inside some really cool railway cars bought by Weber’s for this reason.
It is a great and warm site with many very happy campers and families.
The actual burger, though fresh and priced reasonably, is no Burger’s Priest burger, by a long shot, or any other of the boutique burger joints in town.
A Weber’s burger is on par with a Harvey’s burger. Well-made, fresh, average. Same goes for the fries. On par with McDonalds fries, and not even close to New York Fries, or so I am told.
But there is no dispute with Weber’s success or its longevity. It is open 10 months a year, except for January
February. And it always busy, even in the off season from October to December.
Weber’s gets you coming to cottage country and leaving cottage country.
Weber’s bought a portion of bridge, formerly associated with Toronto’s CN Tower and it supported the installation of this covered bridge over Highway 11, so cottagers leaving cottage country and heading south on Highway 11 back to Toronto can stop at a parking lot across from Webers. Cross over Highway 11 by bridge to Weber’s and grab burgers and fries for the trip back home.
What a brilliant and very practical business idea and practice!
Many Ontario companies and the Ontario government can learn a ton from this very successful company that provides fast and friendly service and a very consistent product at a reasonable price.
And in the process, creates family memories and traditions that last for decades.
How so Canadian!