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The Best Part of the Malahat Is This Roadside Burger Shack

The Best Part of the Malahat Is This Roadside Burger Shack

About a 40-minute drive up the Malahat from Victoria proper, you’ll find the simple and modest Malahat Burger Shack. Its promise is clear—it’s an unassuming shack that sells burgers, nothing more, nothing less—and if the “open” sign is lit, you’re in for a treat.

[Editor’s Note: The Malahat Burger Shack is now closed for the season…which gives you lots of time to dream about their burgers until next season.]

For inside this small kitchen (about the size of an Oak Bay powder room), is where Dale Tulloch creates his highly rated, classically loaded, handcrafted burgers: lean ground-beef patties prepared in-house and topped with pickles, onions, cheese, lettuce, bacon, tomato and mayo. They’re straightforward and delicious, and are part of an equally tasty burger fleet that includes Hawaiian burgers, chicken burgers and veggie patties. And the food will be ready when it’s good and ready. “We prefer quality over speed,” says Tulloch, who explains it can take between seven to 10 minutes to cook a decent burger—so no, this isn’t a fast food joint. 

What makes this roadside pit stop so special is the total Island casualness of it. Tulloch, the friendly owner and cook, is a semi-retired engineering technician from southern Alberta. “I’m not a trained chef, I just know what I like and love cooking it,” he says. Tulloch also owns and operates Island Mini Donuts out of Duncan, a business that has kept him and his wife travelling across the Island. 

It was on trips to Victoria when he first noticed the space on the Malahat. “We kept noticing this little burger shack next to Malahat Gas sitting empty for as long as we could remember. One thing led to another, and after a few inquiries were made, we ended up striking a deal on the place,” says Tulloch. “Since the majority of our mini donut events were on weekends, I was looking to keep busy during the week. The Burger Shack fit the bill.” If keeping the stomachs of disgruntled Malahat drivers happy is what keeps Tulloch busy, then we’re all for it. 

Want to plan a visit? You can try. It’s mostly open during the week, Monday to Thursday for lunch crowds, and closed on weekends as Tulloch and his wife spend their time slinging mini donuts at Island events. You can always check the Burger Shack site for their updated schedule and vacation alerts. But Malahat Burger Shack’s highway location, scant online presence (the reviews that are on Google are all five stars and very effusive) and limited availability only adds to the allure. 

It’s almost like a car dealership that isn’t trying to sell any cars. If you don’t commute up Island every day, you just have to wait until the stars align to catch Tulloch at the grill and see what the buzz is all about—and there’s something awesome about that. 

Malahat Burger Shack
231 Trans-Canada Hwy, Malahat

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