Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

When 8 isn't enough

Man of Steel would have Belly of Burger if he took on Super Boy's NINE-PATTY behemoth

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When Man of Steel opens in theatres this weekend, everyone's favourite Kryptonian will be up to his old tricks. You know, racing speeding bullets, leaping tall buildings, overpowering locomotives...

There is one display of power Superman should probably avoid, however, if he intends to fit into his tights until the end of the show.

A couple of years ago, a 19-year-old who lived in Stonewall popped by Super Boy’s Family Restaurant, a 22-seat nook at 1480 Main St. The fellow had been watching MuchMusic and saw a clip featuring that locale, which specializes in burgers, hotdogs, gyros and ice cream.

In the bit, one of the station’s VJs — an ex-Winnipegger — headed to Super Boy’s with a camera crew in tow. During his visit, he managed to polish off an eight-patty version of their signature burger, the Super Boy. (A Super Boy is a cheeseburger topped with chili, lettuce, tomato, onions, mustard and mayo.)

"The guy from Stonewall asked if eight (patties) was the record because if it was, he wanted to go for nine," says Georgia Chouzouris, the daughter of Super Boy’s owner and founder, Angelo Corantzopoulos. "My first reaction was, ‘Oh my goodness,’ because, first of all, that’s a lot of food. And second, we close at 10 and it was already almost nine. I mean, how long was this going to take?"

Answer: just under 45 minutes, or about five minutes per patty.

"He ate it in layers and I have to admit, by the end, he still looked pretty good," Georgia says, noting the customer -- talk about a glutton for punishment -- returned seven days later for a repeat performance, this time with a friend in tow.

"His buddy finished all nine patties but the first guy couldn't get past eight, the second time around. He told me he didn't have any more room."

Last summer, Ace Burpee and his early-morning cohorts from Virgin Radio 103.1 made their television debut in Milkshakes, Burgers and Fries -- the Manitoba equivalent of Food Network's Diners, Drive-ins and Dives. Every week, Burpee, Chrissy Troy and Lloyd the Intern (LTI) would hit the road, top down, in search of this provinces best take-out fare.

Their first stop was Super Boy's.

"It was one of the places we'd each been to in our youth and we all knew the legacy it has," Burpee says, noting they cut their burger -- they only ordered one -- in quarters and played rock, paper, scissors for the final piece. (Ace and LTI chose rock. Chrissy went with paper. Paper -- burp -- covered rock.)

The legacy Burpee speaks of actually got its start on Henderson Highway. That's where Angelo and his late wife, Ourania, opened a drive-in called Fat Boy's in 1980. Five years later, they tweaked their name and moved to Main Street, after a building in that neck of the woods came up for sale.

"Before we got here it was a pizza joint -- UFO Pizza, I think -- but at some point it must have been a hair salon, too, because when we were doing renos, we kept finding all these curlers hidden away," says Georgia, who started working at Super Boy's when she was 15 and was promoted a year later, along with her younger sister, in an original manner.

"We were in here working one afternoon when this guy who sold cars down the street pulled up in a red Cavalier," Georgia says. "He came in, pointed outside and said, 'See that car? It's yours.' "

"Uh, no, it's not," Georgia corrected him.

Just then, Georgia noticed that attached to the key chain the salesman was dangling in front of her was a key to Super Boy's back door. That was her father's way of telling her it was now her and her sister's responsibility to run the place on weekend mornings, so her parents could get some shut-eye.

Super Boy's is the exact type of place ex-pat Winnipeggers put on their to-do list, when they come back to town. Georgia can't count the number of times she's fielded calls along the lines of, "I'm at the airport, I'm waiting for my luggage -- I'll be there in 15 minutes."

"It's not unusual for people who are visiting for a week to come in five days out of the seven," Georgia says. "And on the last day, they usually take a bunch of chili sauce to go so they can freeze it for later."

About that chili: Georgia points to her noggin when she is asked where the recipe is stored. Only three people -- Georgia, her husband, Dino, and her dad -- know what goes into a dish reviewers at websites like Urban Spoon refer to as a "game-changer."

"It isn't written down anywhere so there's no paper trail," Georgia says with a chuckle. "It's a bit of a state secret."

What isn't so secretive is the affection folks have for the homey restaurant. Take the group of four mail carriers who, most days, are willing to wait an extra 15 minutes so they can sit at their preferred table. Or the Winnipegger who recently turned 40 and hired a limo to take him and five buddies to Super Boy's for supper, before they hit a concert downtown. "We can have steak anytime," they told the staff.

CJOB's Hal Anderson is a familiar face at Super Boy's, as is former premier Gary Filmon. But the customer regulars make the biggest fuss over is a person who's as much a North End icon as the restaurant he habituates.

"Burton Cummings's mom used to live just down the street so Burton would come in on his way to her place," Georgia says. "Whenever people saw him they would bombard him, so the last few times he just placed his order and went for a walk around the block before coming back to pick it up."

Oh, and you can forget about that whole no sugar tonight business: Cummings usually gets a shake to go along with his burger and fries, Georgia says.

Super Boy's is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Saturday, noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

david.sanderson@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition June 15, 2013 D11

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