Forget the "Mac Sauce" and processed cheese. Edmonton's McDonald's restaurants are going upscale, one gourmet burger at a time.
The fast-food chain is serving up a new business model, with self-order kiosks, table service and a line of premium-priced custom hamburgers.
The revamped restaurants have been cropping up across Alberta since last October, when McDonald's announced its national "Create Your Taste" rebranding strategy.
Hungry for culinary intel, Edmonton AM enlisted the help of local food writer Liane Faulder, who sampled the spiffy new menu at the Glastonbury McDonald's.
She tried the Angus True Blue and Guacamole, with garlic aioli, bacon strips and mushrooms for $11.54.
"To me, the patty was the same old patty you always get at McDonald's so that's kind of a problem," said Faulder during a Thursday morning interview on CBC's Edmonton AM radio show.
"But it was certainly better than any other burger that I've ever had at McDonalds."
The improved taste comes at a cost. Custom burger prices at the kiosks are more than 15 per cent higher than those of a regular Big Mac. And with hundreds of gourmet toppings to choose from, decking out your meal could bring the price of a single burger up to a whopping $50.
Although the premium costs are a far cry from the days of McDonald's "dollar menu," Faulder says the price failed to put a bad taste in her mouth.
"For the price that you're getting at McDonald's, it's decent value," said Faulder.
"This a smart move for McDonald's. They have to do something to stay relevant," said Faulder, who says declining sales in the U.S. means the burger giant has to fight hard to shed its fast food image.
Never one to pass up a chance to talk about food, Edmonton AM host Mark Connolly asked listeners to weigh in on their "must have" burger toppings.
The morning poll shows Edmontonians are deeply divided over what to put on a patty.
The great burger debate raged on all morning but in the end cheese, quite literally, came out on top.
*VOTE* What's the 1 MUST have burger topping. We've cut it down based on your answers so far cc/ @MarkConnollyCBC— @EdmAMCBC
@MarkConnollyCBC will nobody speak up for the egg?!?! Nothing like an egg cooked medium well, some cheese and bacon piled on top.— @crunchynova
What do you think? Take a bite out of the burger debate, and have your say in the comments section below.