Vera and the Franchising of My Fantasy

Yesterday, Todd and I went for lunch. On his recommendation, we went to Vera’s Burger Shack on Denman, and I enjoyed a very tasty turkey burger called ‘The Pilgrim’. There are four locations around Vancouver. I was disappointed, however, to read on Vera’s website about the origin of the franchises:

In 1977, the concession at Dundarave Pier opened in West Vancouver. Over the next 22 years under the watchful eyes of Vera and Frank, it gained a reputation for two things; quality and quantity. Actually three if you count the hour long wait for one of Vera’s fresh burgers. With the help of her family, they made sure that their standards were always maintained.

I grew up in West Van, and my family frequented this fairly anonymous shack on the beach. Its burgers were excellent, and the lines were long. At the tender age of 17, I went off to university to start a creative writing program. My first short story was about falling in love with the lovely Eastern European girl who worked at the shack. It was like Joyce’s Araby meets The Wonder Years, except very, very bad. I still have it, and though it shames me, here’s a sample paragraph:

A girl stepped into view from behind a dividing wall. She was tall and slim, with a mane of thick brown hair tied back from her face. Her skin was fair, almost to the point of transparency. I didn’t realize I’d been staring until her gaze met my own. I quickly looked away, finding new interest in the condiments lining the counter.

I’m no Updike today, but how the heck did I pass first year creative writing? That’s just awful.

Vera has retired, and now they’re busy franchising her shack and my fantasy across the Lower Mainland. To add insult to injury, I was served by a pimply, desultory teenage boy at the Vera’s on Denman.


  1. ha ha you were lucky! -I usually get served at that location by a dumber than a sack of hammers blonde. (verified by both the lyns and stina -the woman is NOT to be believed!) 😉 burgers taste the same thou. yay.

  2. Hey, it’s written in complete sentences: you’re one up on most first-year students. Plus, the low number of adverbs hints at your burgeoning writing talent.

  3. The one buger shack that holds a dear place in my heart is Sonny’s in Waterloo, Ontario. Honest, if unhealthy, burgers made fresh for only a buck more than the pre-cooked garbage served by McDonald’s and the like. Add the late hours and the terrific shakes, and you will have many a fond and drunken memory of my university years.

  4. I was at Vera’s recently too, and ordered the same burger. I was also served by a pimply teen boy. The burgers were good, but not as good as Roxy Burger, and I didn’t like the ambiance – next time I’ll get takeout. The poutine is tasty though, and huge. Share with at least one person if you get it.

  5. Hi Guys;
    Thanks for the comments. I’m sorry about ruining your memories, hopefully when you have a burger now it will bring back the memories of your youth. I don’t know whether or not bree will check this message board again, but if so, I would be curious to know what part of the ambience you did not like and what in your opinion made the roxy burger better.


    gerald tritt, owner Vera’s burger shack

  6. Pingback: Anonymous

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: