White Gravy’s Review
Scarcity. It’s one of the most powerful levers any business has, yet in an on-demand world, is being used less and less.
We want the things that we can’t easily have.
And when we get them – we enjoy them more because of it.
Tubby Dog gets that.
Tubby opened way back in 2005, on 17th Ave (1022 17 Ave. S.W.), half a block down from the Mount Royal Rogers Video where a young White Gravy once emptied the return bin and told you to rent Vincent Ward’s The Navigator instead of Tom Cruise’s Mission Impossible (advice that still stands today).
In short order, it would become one of Calgary’s most iconic eateries: taking its place alongside Peter’s Drive-in, Rocky’s Burger Bus and Boogie’s, as a local favourite. It was a unique and fresh spin on a classic food – and Calgarians loved it.
And they continue to over a dozen years later.
Serving up a range of dogs from classics like the Slaw Dog, to a PB&J version, Tubby’s relentless focus on frankfurters has been a big part of their sustained success.
The ambience only adds to this … with walls adorned with products and packages of our youth, and old-school arcade games begging for your quarters. It was, and remains, cool.
And on Wednesdays it is even cooler. That’s when Tubby Dog offers up the Tubby Burger.
It’s a classic. Mustard, mayo, lettuce, onion, tomato, pickles and cheese … but each element is perfect and brought together in beautiful balanced harmony.
Perfectly cooked crumbled bacon is liberally sprinkled. As that bacon hit my lips I was reminded of a similar flavour and texture from my youth. And while I haven’t been able to completely grasp the specifics of that memory, it matters little, because the feelings that it brought me were of nostalgia, comfort and happiness.
I want this burger. And I want it Every. Damn. Day.
And yet Tubby won’t give that to me. And as much as I hate them for that … I also love them.
It would be all-to-easy to make it a part of the daily menu. But in an on-demand world where you can get almost any movie, song or meal from your device to your eyes, ears and lips nearly instantly … for some reason NOT being able to do that makes something special.
Those rare Wednesdays where I can un-glue myself from my desk and escape to the wonderful little world of Tubby Dog mean that much more to me. And I don’t want to lose that.
Is this burger BQ Certified? Easily. Every day of the week and twice on Sundays … at least I wish it was. But instead I’ll take it every Wednesday and enjoy it that much more.
You remember the kid in high school that seemed to sit seamlessly at the edge of every group — assuming they chose to — and was always missed when they were not around. They always carried themselves with a slightly sarcastic or knowing demeanour, carved a path of “I could care less but I care about you.” When they spoke with you, you felt as if you had briefly run your finger across the Rosetta Stone of teen logic. They knew about stuff, music and culture that you had never heard about much less considered. They moved a little slower and seemed ready to deal with the unexpected and were completely thrilled when the unexpected arrived. That one or two times you went to their house for lunch, or even better a party, there was no parental presence to cramp their style. The house was filled with oddities beyond the keeping-up-with-the-Joneses nick nackary that filled most suburban homes. They were not the popular kid, they were the cool kid — the kid that effortlessly floated above the awkward throws of the pubescent grinder arriving unscathed at the end of any and all teen angst scenarios.
Without pretense Tubby Dog, on Wednesdays and Wednesdays only, will make you a burger that is so cool that it would make “The Cool Kid” from high school look like just another testosterone-fuelled jock caught up in a nut-punching contest trying to impress someone they have a crush on.
Not unlike their hotdogs, Tubby Dog offers up a weekly burger special with all manner of flavours inspired by history, pop culture and local celebrity. They are always beyond creative and always taste as good as described. Now and again I will wander into these eclectic stacks with much pleasure, but I am a man on a very clear quest. My stack order is typically a single bacon cheese burger until owner-operator John Truch gently suggests that I want a double. I should keep to my longstanding and longwinded standards of bun-to-meat ratios — but when the jewels pop you in the mouth like these flat grilled diamonds, you step outside your good reason and enjoy the ride.
This is not a fussed-over burger, it does not stack 20,000 ingredients with a deep-fried pickle spear, 30 onion rings and a pair of rubber boots to grab your attention. A high-quality bun is butter toasted and filled with perfectly loved patties, the right tangy American cheese, minced grilled bacon, crisp lettuce, tomato, pickle, onion, mayo and mustard. Boom. Seems simple, but if it is so simple how come so many others fall so flat?
I have been dating this burger for a long time, to the point that we are thinking of making it official. I mention this to expose that I may be biased with this burger. This is the burger that put me back on the quest. I have been waiting to review it since the BQ reboot, but did not want to put unrealistic expectations on other burgers based on my having felt like I found my “let’s go steady.” When it comes to burgers I have the conviction and commitment of a teenager. Sure, I have broken up with this burger for a week or two, but we always get back together. We have discussed this and we are more and more emotionally open to a poly-burgerous relationship so long as it only makes our relationship stronger. This may sound like the ramblings of a confused high school love affair, but to those who would judge, I say, “Punch me in the nuts, this burger is a legend.”
White Gravy bought and ate an entire flapper pie last night. The world needs more flapper pie and Gravy is just doing his part. Wonderbun is currently in talks with networks in regards to a reality show that highlights the ups and downs of a poly-burgerous lifestyle. He is aware that people will judge, but he was chosen to live this life by a higher power so that you can voyeuristically enjoy without getting your morals dirty.