Drake is well known for repping his Canadian roots, and on a recent trip home he dropped in on good buddy William Nguyen’s new Toronto restaurant, Gangster Burger. While there, the rapper tucked into a burger with “Blue Magic sauce,” took some time out for a few photos, and repped the tongue-in-cheek grub joint.
We figured that visit was reason enough to chat up mister Nguyen to learn about his ties to Drizzy, his recent food-industry adventures, and a possible plan for launching more spots with none other than Waka Flocka Flame. Here’s what we found out.
What made you decide to open a burger spot?
Well, for the past three years I’ve run a tattoo shop, Forever Young Ink with Lee Baxter. An opportunity arose to buy out the place across the street. Finally, the price got to the point where we basically couldn’t say no, so we bought the guy out. We had no idea what we were doing, and Lee says, “Do you want to open a burger joint?”
How did you arrive on the name Gangster Burger?
We wanted to go against the grain, skip the white walls and go for something relevant to our demographic. Lee wasn’t totally sold on the gangster idea right away because of his history, but I said, “Let’s just do something dumb. Let’s call it Gangster Burger. We’ll have like black walls and shit.”
Drake’s early visit was definitely a blessing since he put us on the map from day one.
How does the theme translate to the restaurant?
Well, I watched all the gangster movies over again and got inspired. I am also a big fan of Batman, so I got into the Art Deco stuff, with logos being very reminiscent of that time. You know, channeling that old vibe.
And how about the burger names?
The burger names are all old gangsters and their ingredients correspond with who they were: Al Capone was Italian so it has roasted red peppers, sautéed mushrooms and onions, smoked provolone, and garlic sauce. Escobar, he was Hispanic, so that one gets tortilla chips and chipotle mayo. The Frank Lucas gets Blue Magic sauce because of the blue magic brand he used to sell. The Dillinger is spicy and sweet because of his personality—he was a bank robber and a womanizer. “Don C” Don Corleone is a make-your-own burger, because he was the godfather, the boss. While Eliot Ness is the vegetarian option, because he was really a cop.
Which one did Drake order?
He ordered the Lucas, with the Blue Magic cheese sauce.
Is Drake involved in the restaurant as an investor or otherwise?
Drake is not an investor, he’s just a good homie. We go way back. He supported me at the beginning of my photography career and coincidentally was there on the first day we opened up at Gangster Burger. It was a complete surprise to me because I didn’t even know he was back in town. Drake’s early visit was definitely a blessing since he put us on the map from day one. It also put us under a magnifying glass and brought the masses out way earlier than we were ready for, but if anyone knows Lee and I, we’re always up for a good challenge. Go hard or go home right? But regardless, shout out to the homie Drizzy.
When did you guys open?
September 14th, but officially on September 29th.
Waka Flocka came by the other day, he said, “I cant believe there is a place called Gangster Burger! I never thought I would live to the day to see such a thing, it makes me so happy.”
Has Drake been back or any other celebrities or rappers?
Drake hasn’t been back but a lot of his boys come in a lot. Waka Flocka came by the other day, he said, “I cant believe there is a place called Gangster Burger! I never thought I would live to the day to see such a thing, it makes me so happy.” I mean I didn’t know it was going to make anyones day or life, I was like, “awesome.” He was also interested in some possible business plans.
What did Waka order?
He had the Eliot Ness. He said he was on a diet.
If you could have anyone of your choice come in to eat, who would it be?
Jay-Z and Kanye. Either one I would be so happy,
What do you think they would order?
Jay would get the Lucas because he did American Gangster, right? And ‘Ye, the Capone because he’s from Chicago.