09 April 2008


A tear for Wally's Burgers

30-03-081247.jpg at Flickr.comAbout 20 years ago, when my roommate Sebastien and I were first learning to play in a rock band, he wrote a song whose chorus was:

Wally's Burgers is the place to go
Wally's Burgers is the place to go
Wally's Burgers is the place to go
Let's go!

Wally's has been a drive-in burger joint on Kingsway in Vancouver since the 1950s (it changed its name to Wally's in 1962). A couple of weeks ago I dropped by to grab one of their delicious Deluxe Wagon burgers, but the place was packed, so I went elsewhere.

I only found out this week that was because Wally's closed forever at the end of March, so my last meal there had actually been a couple of months ago. A few days ago my wife and I noticed that the famous neon sign had come down, and today I drove past to see the windows boarded up. It's a shame. The burgers really were extremely good.

For someone born and raised in this city, I discovered Wally's surprisingly late, in the 1980s, but I was hooked. Over my years of commuting by bicycle along Kingsway, first to university and then to work downtown, I've eaten innumerable Chuck Wagon burgers and fries there.

There are other tasty hamburgers in Vancouver, but none quite the same as Wally's. As far as I know there has only ever been the one location—but had its owners taken a different business approach, I think Wally's could have been a B.C.-wide institution like White Spot.

At least we still have Me-n-Ed's Pizza. In fact, I ate some three days ago.

UPDATE: As of spring 2009, Wally's has two new locations opened by new owners of the names and recipes, one at the Cates Park concession in North Vancouver, and one in Killarney Village in East Vancouver, not too far from the original Kingsway restaurant.

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Wally Burgers was awesome. I suppose that all good things need to come to an end.
Wow, that really sucks! I grew up about a block away from there. Fabulous memories of that parking lot vibe in the 70's as a kid going there with my bro, and seeing the guys from Tropper and Loverboy eat there too! It's a real loss for Vancouver.
Here's a TV feature on the last days of Wally's.
Did they re-open a few years ago? I could have sworn seeing it closed/boarded up one one of my visits home over the years and having the same sentiments as in your post (aside from the rock band part of it that is)...

I thought Wally's was long-gone already.
If they were closed when you passed by, it might have been after a grease fire, and briefly (they did have one or two). Until they shut down they'd never been closed for any significant time that I'd seen.
I unfortunately never went to Wally's, but everyone is lamenting its demise. But I do love The Red Onion, which I reviewed recently. Their burgers are pretty good.