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Photo courtesy @classclownhamburgers // Instagram

Calgary Hidden Gems: Class Clown Burgers

By Dylan Mansfield, October 13 2023—

A top-down racing game, Super Off-Road was initially released in North America in 1989. It begins like any other arcade game: insert a quarter, hit the bright red start button, and choose your character. Three players can race around several off-road tracks, competing for a golden trophy and, better yet, the bikini-clad woman holding it.

An original Super Off-Road cabinet — a rare sight in the Calgary wild — is the first thing you see upon entering Class Clown Burgers, a new burger joint located along 18th Avenue SW. Now almost 35 years old, the vintage machine perfectly previews what lies inside.

Sitting snug between a church and a ramen bar, Class Clown Burgers opened its doors in June 2023. Although it opened mere months ago, Class Clown has the look and feel of a retro establishment. It is a building out of time. The wood-grained-finished walls are a funky ’70s brown, and a kitschy, warm chandelier glows a fine orange above every table. Behind the bar, an old CRT TV sits on a shelf, playing fake Class Clown VHS commercials on a loop. Right below it: a china Pagliacci doll. The vibe is immaculate. You can spend hours looking around the room, enjoying every little detail, and feeling like an extra in an episode of Cheers. Class Clown Burgers is the rare spot where waiting for the food is just as fun as eating it. 

Contrary to their name, Class Clown’s food is no laughing matter. From Boogie’s to Rocky’s to Peter’s, it seems Calgary has more burger joints than people. Nevertheless, Class Clown ranks high on the list, coming out with fun new takes on classic burger meals. The Donald McRonald is their version of a McDonald’s sandwich, upgraded with two smash patties, double cheese, and a squishy, buttery sesame seed bun. The Winnipeg Fat Boy is a bit more on the wild side, as it’s topped with their signature “coney sauce,” a sweet, beanless chilli à la sloppy joe. You can also order coney sauce on your fries, though be warned: it is not a side designed for one person. There are also options for crispy chicken (Szechuannabe Hot Chicken), fish (Nashville Hot Cod), and plant-based sandwiches (Veggie [Name Pending] — yes, that’s what it’s called) on the menu, as well as a plethora of wine and locally-brewed ales.

Overall, Class Clown Burgers is a great, affordable place in the city if you’re craving a heavier meal. The service is quick, and the waiting staff is nothing but friendly. Mouth-watering food and an incredible aesthetic make Class Clown a tremendous destination for you and your friends. Have a seat, enjoy the view, and leave with a full stomach — and, if you’re up to the challenge, a trophy in Super Off-Road.

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