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A & W’S Popping up EVERYWHERE!

Is it just us or has there been a lot of A&W restaurants popping up everywhere lately?

Before we only knew of ONE in our area, the one on Lake St. near the CAA building, now within a span of a few months there are TWO – one near the Pen Centre and the other on Welland Ave. near Bunting Rd.
The A&W on Bunting Rd. was the former Taco Bell Restaurant!

We LOVE A&W restaurants!  As a matter of fact, we remembered thinking (while at the one on Lake St. about 5 months ago), that we hoped it would never close down.

A&W Food Services of Canada, Inc. is a Canadian fast food restaurant chain.

Read on to view some facts and check out some photos we took from the one on Lake st...

Some A & W Facts:

  • A&W Canada was part of the U.S.-based A&W Restaurants chain, but was sold to Unilever in 1972, and then bought by its management in 1995. It no longer has any corporate connection to A&W operations outside of Canada.
  • The Canadian operation is owned and operated by the privately held A&W Food Services of Canada Inc., based in North Vancouver, British Columbia.
  • In December 2013, A&W was Canada's second-largest Quick Service Restaurant burger chain with 850 outlets after McDonald's 1,400 outlets.
  • In 1956, the first A&W drive-in restaurant in Canada opened on Portage Avenue in Winnipeg. 

In the early 1980s, the drive-in style of restaurant was phased out. It was replaced with a modern, pastel-coloured fast food outlet which included marginally healthier options. While the chain continued to open some standalone restaurants, A&W also aggressively pursued shopping mall locations, and as a result A&Ws are still commonly found in Canadian malls of various sizes.

Two new restaurant concepts were introduced in the fall of 2009. The new standalone restaurant design is ultra modern but with some architectural markings reminiscent of the design in the earlier buildings erect from A&W back in time. There is also a new separate format for urban (i.e., downtown) locations, where some of the baby-boomer aspects are scaled back in favour of a more modern look. On November 21, 2013, the chain opened its 800th location in downtown Montreal.

(Inside A&W on Lake St., St. Cathairnes):

Who could resist a good mamma, papa or uncle burger… with a mug of root beer? Surely not us!

Apart from the namesake brand of root beer, the A&W menu is focused on "The Burger Family", a lineup of hamburgers introduced by the U.S. A&W chain in the early 1960s, mostly discontinued in the 1980s in favour of a more standard menu, then reintroduced in Canada and expanded upon beginning in the late 1990s.

The Burger Family

The original Burger Family lineup consists of the Baby, Mama, Teen and Papa burgers. They are still sold today along with other burgers named after other family members:

  • Baby Burger: small beef patty(1.6 oz), ketchup, unseeded hamburger bun
  • Mama Burger: regular beef patty(3 oz), onion slice, pickles, ketchup, mustard, Teen Sauce, sesame seed bun
  • Teen Burger: regular beef patty(3 oz), onion slice, pickles, ketchup, mustard, bacon, Teen Sauce, lettuce, tomato, cheese slice, sesame seed bun
  • Papa Burger: two regular beef patties(6 oz), onion slice, pickles, ketchup, mustard, Teen Sauce, sesame seed bun
  • Grandpa Burger: three regular beef patties(9 oz), onion slice, pickles, ketchup, mustard, Teen Sauce, sesame seed bun
  • Uncle Burger: 5-oz. beef patty, ketchup, Uncle Sauce (mustard mixed with Hellmann's Mayo), pickles, Chubby Mayo (Hellmann's Mayo), lettuce, tomato, three red onion rings, sesame seed bun
  • Buddy Burger: one or two small beef patties, mustard, ketchup, Teen Sauce, grilled onions, unseeded hamburger bun; value burgers, available in "little" or regular versions

The only non-"Family" member of A&W's beef burger lineup is the Mozza Burger, consisting of a beef patty, lettuce, tomato, bacon, mozzarella cheese, and Mozza sauce on a sesame seed bun.

Discontinued members of the Burger Family include the Grandma Burger, a prime rib burger topped with caramelized onions and horseradish sauce, and the Baby Burger Twins, which were a pair of sliders.

Near the Pen Centre, St. Catharines...

On Bunting Rd., St. Catharines...

Differences between the Canadian and American menus

The Canadian menu has some similarities to the current offerings of the American chain, but, owing to their independent management, also diverges in many respects. The only Burger Family product available by name in U.S. locations is the Papa Burger, although it differs significantly (adding lettuce, tomato, and cheese slices which are not included by default on the Canadian product). However, the American "Original Bacon Cheeseburger" appears to be almost exactly equivalent to the Teen Burger available in Canada. Notable products on the U.S. menu not available in Canada include deep-fried cheese curds, cheese fries, and soft serve-based products such as sundaes.

Info source: wikipedia

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