Sunday, October 5, 2014

Olympus Burger revisited (Why do those Greeks grow those super hot peppers anyway?)

When in Port Hope, Ontario, I do what most others do -- lunch or dinner at Olympus Burger. According to Trip Advisor, it is the #1 restaurant in Port Hope (out of 51) and #5 in all Ontario for American Cuisine. Double OPA!

"Ares" Burger
Liked it a lot when I visited last May, and even more this time -- even though I yet again did not fully take up the Hercules Challenge. But at least I made progress...And I had one of the best burgers I have ever eaten: "Ares" (Peppercorn beef patty, crispy bacon, caramelized onion, sauteed mushrooms, Olympus BBQ Sauce, lettuce/tomato on a whole wheat bun). Just look at it!

Kallonakis Family
Olympus Burger is very welcoming, with front man George Kallonakis (a mover-and-shaker in the Port Hope restaurant community) as backed up by his parents Georgia and Manolis from Hirocambi, about 15 minutes south of Sparti...This time I met the parents. And I had barely sat down for lunch when Dad Kallonakis brought me a bag of tomatoes grown in his garden at the back of the restaurant, a very Greek thing to do. Then he proceeded to produce my burger and the amazing "Olympus Poutine" featuring Ivanhoe cheese curds, a very Canadian thing to eat.

The "Labour of Hercules" Challenge requires you to eat a 6 oz. beef patty, w/crispy bacon, lettuce/tomato, caramelized onions, jalapenos, habanero peppers, and secret Olympus Hot Sauce (also slathered on top of the bun!) -- in 15 minutes with one glass of water, after signing a waiver. It's followed-up w/a milkshake to cool off the stomach, if you get that far. So far 211 customers have tried and only 63 have succeeded (30%), including 6 of 9 women (66%). Survivors get a free t-shirt and serious bragging rights.

According to George, Mom Kallonakis likes spicy and pushing the limits of spicy. So they started growing Trinidad Moruga Scorpion peppers in their backyard, NOT a very Greek thing to grow. Scorpions were until recently the world's hottest peppers with a 1.2 -2 million Scoville heat unit score depending on the plant -- or at least 250 times hotter than the average jalapeno. Thus the Olympus Hot Sauce and the Hercules Challenge...and the rest is (not quite) ancient history.

Most of the burgers/sandwiches at Olympus burger are indeed Greek god themed -- with names like Athena (lamb patty), Hermes, Dionysus, Poseidon (salmon fillet), Artemis (chicken breast), and Hera (Portobello mushroom cap). Something for everybody and fabulous home-cut fries to boot.

One evening, I managed to eat a burger -- the "Achilles" from the Secret Menu -- slathered w/2 little cups of the Olympus Hot Sauce, one more than last time. My friend Greg managed only one cup, but that was his first try...Next time, who knows?


  1. Going to try on Saturday......great info...sounds yummy