'I think Elton John is sitting across from me': Music icon hails 'best burger' after lunch at the Senator
Superstar singer and his Canadian husband, David Furnish, enjoyed low-key lunch at Toronto institution
It's not every day that Elton John comes to town to perform, but it's even less common for the music icon to enjoy a burger at one of the city's oldest and most iconic restaurants.
But lucky patrons at the Senator on Victoria Street got to enjoy lunch with the superstar earlier this week when John, his husband — and Scarborough native — David Furnish popped by for lunch with their children and other family members.
John and Furnish had been there a few times together years ago, and Furnish has enjoyed regular meals over the last 30 years, says manager Allen Gottschalk.
"It's always been his little treasure that he loves coming to," Gottschalk said of Furnish.
But this was the first time they brought a larger entourage, Gottschalk told CBC Radio's Here and Now on Thursday. And they got a very Canadian reception as they enjoyed their burgers, macaroni, omelettes and steaks.
Patrons were quietly looking around, clearly noticing the star in their midst, Gottschalk said.
"This man is literally like two faces away from Elton John and he's on the phone saying, 'I think Elton John is sitting across from me.'"
But no one went to their table to bother them and, remarkably in 2018, no selfies were requested, much to the surprise of one patron visiting from south of the border, Gottschalk laughed.
"Maybe it's just our way…maybe he's like our token extra Canadian," he said of John.
While customers kept their cool, Gottschalk said the restaurant's own Instagram account has "gone crazy" after John posted a picture of the three men outside the restaurant. His comment was also a huge endorsement for the Toronto institution.
"Every time we come to Toronto, David and I pop into the Senator Diner for the best burger in the world," John's post read. "Thanks for the warm hospitality Allen!"
The post got more than 22,000 likes and numerous comments agreeing with John's assessment of the burger.
Later, when Gottschalk and Furnish were exchanging text messages, Gottschalk noted the power of an endorsement from someone like John.
"I said 'you know what you have done to me now, right?'" Gottschalk recalled. "And he said 'you're the little treasure in the city that I believe should have this because you guys have always had the greatest burger.'"
While John was the biggest star to dine at the Senator in recent memory, he wasn't the only one this month. Famed chef Gordon Ramsay also visited and, despite his curmudgeonly reputation, greeted kitchen staff when he arrived and thanked them when he left.
"I just thought that was so unbelievably nice," Gottschalk said.
To be sure, though, the waitress who served Ramsay punched his order in with a special request: "For Gordon make it good for the love of god."