Spring nearly sprung, grass almost riz, devastated Winnipeggers wonder where Mrs. Mike’s is Beloved St. Boniface burger stand’s owners serving up disappointment instead of fat boys with decision to not open this year, possibly for good
Read this article for free:
Already have an account? Log in here »
To continue reading, please subscribe:
Monthly Digital Subscription
$4.75 per week*
- Enjoy unlimited reading on winnipegfreepress.com
- Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
- Access News Break, our award-winning app
- Play interactive puzzles
*Billed as $19.00 plus GST every four weeks. Cancel anytime.
Mrs. Mike’s, the decades-old, accolades-earning St. Boniface burger joint passionate fans spend winters thinking about, won’t open its service window this year or, possibly, ever again.
“The future of Mrs. Mike’s is uncertain at this time,” the company wrote in a Facebook Messenger response to the Free Press Thursday, declining to comment further.
On Wednesday, Mrs. Mike’s alerted fans online it will remain closed “for now” instead of opening the seasonal business this month, as is normally the case.
The Mikos family bought the business in 1969. Since then, Mrs. Mike’s has garnered recognition, including a shout-out from Reader’s Digest — it made the list of Canada’s eight greatest burger restaurants in 2014.
“We’re getting lots of phone calls,” Patricia Mikos, the daughter of Mrs. Mike’s owner Steve, said Thursday.
Patricia co-owns Dairy Delight, a burger and ice cream eatery off St. Anne’s Road.
Mrs. Mike’s won’t open this summer, and “(Steve) doesn’t know” how long the shuttering will last, she said.
Health concerns haven’t caused the closure, nor is the family looking to sell, she said. She mentioned Steve’s age; he’s 77 and has worked at the eatery for more than 50 years.
His brother Nick, who bought the company, died nearly 11 years ago. Steve and his sister-in-law Cathy have been running the business since.
Patricia declined to give further details about Mrs. Mike’s closure.
Robert Craig felt “a little panicky” upon seeing the news online.
“Mrs. Mike’s is still, to this day, the best burger I’ve ever had,” Craig said.
He’s eaten a lot of burgers, in nearly every capital city across Canada. He operated a blog, Burger Heaven, about 20 years ago, he said.
“Of all the Greek style burgers I’ve tried… hands down, (Mrs. Mike’s) King Burger is the top of all burgers,” he said.
It’s the chili sauce, the shredded lettuce and the meat-to-bun ratio, he said.
The King won a “Best Burger in Town” contest the Free Press held some 30 years ago. Mrs. Mike’s was crowned king in CBC Manitoba’s favourite burger contest in 2013.
Richard Caron “kind of fell in love with the place” as a teenager when he’d grab fries with his dad.
He changed, but Mrs. Mike’s stayed the same — red and white façade on Tache Avenue, open come spring, ready with burgers and milkshakes.
“(Mrs. Mike’s has) easily one of the top 10… fat boys in the city.”–Richard Caron
Caron, 42, runs an Instagram account devoted to fat boy hamburgers (think fully loaded Greek-style delicacies with the required chili sauce).
“(Mrs. Mike’s has) easily one of the top 10… fat boys in the city,” Caron said.
It’s the taste, but it’s also the experience. The old building, the familiar face behind the counter — it’s special, he said.
“It’s almost like a Winnipegger’s own little secret,” he added. “If you just moved to the city and you drive past it… you’re not even going to pay it attention if somebody doesn’t tell you, ‘You need to go.’”
Mrs. Mike’s is “an integral establishment” in St. Boniface, said Shaun Jeffrey, the Manitoba Restaurant and Food services Association’s CEO.
Mrs. Mike’s has consistently seemed busy when open, Jeffrey said, adding some seasonal eatery owners are taking this year off due to inflation, but it’s unclear whether that’s the reason Mrs. Mike’s is keeping its take-out windows locked.
“When businesses like that don’t open up, it takes something out of the community,” he said. “(It’s) been there for such a long time, as a staple.”
In 1967, Nick became the first Mikos to work for Mrs. Mike’s after he immigrated from Greece. Steve joined two years later, after Nick bought the business. They’d sell burgers at 25 cents apiece, Steve told the Free Press in 2013.
Craig said he hopes to thank Cathy Mikos before the place officially closes.
“She always takes the time to talk and remember things about people,” he said, adding the entire family is “appreciated very much.”
Patricia Manaigre doesn’t know the family well. Still, they greet her by name when she shows up to order.
“I’m hoping that (this is) only temporary, and that whatever’s going on gets resolved,” Manaigre said.
Mrs. Mike’s has been a quick walk away for about 17 years, said Manaigre who often accompanies her mom and grandparents to get chicken fingers and chili burgers.
Losing the place would be “a devastation” to the community, she said.
Mrs. Mike’s closed for the season in December.
Gabby is a big fan of people, writing and learning. She graduated from Red River College’s Creative Communications program in the spring of 2020.