Day 12.1 – Vera’s Burger Shack

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One of the many jobs that I’ve had is being one of the minions at the Vera’s Burger Shack down on South Granville in Vancouver, BC. I started working there in September 2007 and stayed there off and on until December 2009. It was a lot of fun, a lot of drama and a lot of good food. This was one of those jobs that I was more or less happy going to on a weekly basis. I rarely ever woke up and thought “I don’t want to go to work.” If I didn’t want to go to work, it was because I was feeling lazy.

It was while working at Vera’s that I got addicted to cold burgers and cold fries. I also got fairly good at making bacon, burgers and fries, but that’s besides the point. You see, while working at Vera’s we didn’t get real break times. For the most part our break time was when we had some downtime between customers where we were done most or all of our daily duties. Sadly, most of the time it worked out that you would get your food off the grill and customers would walk in and would walk in and would walk in. Unless you were on shift with someone who was the sauce like our stores manager, you had to jump back on the grill or back on the till and your food was left waiting.

A cold day at Vera's.

But you know what? The food was good enough that I was ok eating it cold. I like my food cold anyway, but burgers are better eaten hot. So are fries. Unless they’re made properly at Vera’s. It was great during the winter because my store got so cold that you could stand over the grill and still see your breath and sometimes our walk in fridge was warmer than our store. Yes, it got that cold in our store in the winter. So cold that I would wear tights under my jeans, my Under Armor cold weather t-shirt under my work shirt, a zip up hoodie over my work shirt, a toque and fingerless elbow length gloves just to stay warm.

The me in the picture is how I looked on a typical winter day at Vera’s (keep in mind this was winter 2008). I didn’t get the heater in the picture, but right beside the toaster that you can see behind me was where we kept a heater to keep us warm when we were in the back. I also used one of our tins that we used for our gravy and chili to make and keep hot chocolate on the grill.

The upside to all of this was the very simply fact that by this point I had really started to like my Vera’s food cold. Now, the downside to liking your food cold is the fact that you have to cook it and then you have wait for it to get cold. At Vera’s in that amount of cold, food got cold fast. This just meant that I could actually enjoy a cold Vera’s burger a whole lot sooner than I would in warmer months.

I actually enjoy cold Vera’s so much that I got irritated with a few customers when they would order their food to go and then call in 10 minuets later and complain that their food was cold. Normally I would point out the fact that they took their food home, so it wasn’t exactly fresh off the hot grill. Then I would try to talk them into eating it because I thought it tasted better that way and if they refused to see the light I’d tell them that next time they should eat in so they wouldn’t wind up with cold food at home. They’d bitch about soggy buns and I’d roll my eyes because that was part of the yum factor. When you have a properly made Vera’s burger, it’s actually pretty juicy and yummy. Topped off with sauces and then wrapped up hot and left sitting for a few minuets, you get a soggy bun full of yummy flavor.

Personally I think that these customers who didn’t like cold Vera’s were morons and in this case the customer was not right.

Obviously, I was not the greatest Vera’s employee, but whatever, I didn’t burn down the store so I give myself  +10 to awesome.

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