A few weeks ago, we told you about a restaurant we had discovered, the Motoraunt. Unfortunately, at the time, we were already predisposed, and couldn’t partake of the experience immediately. Well, it took a few weeks, but we were finally able to have dinner there. And it was an experience we will not soon forget.
Now, let’s get the unpleasantness out of the way first. The Motoraunt is not a pretty place. It’s not in a great location. The decor is unique, and the layout is… well, let’s face it, it’s built inside an RV with some buildings tacked on to the sides. It’s not going to be a great layout no matter how you slice it.
But you know what? None of it matters. It’s a restaurant built inside an RV. That should be awesome enough for you, but just in case it’s not, let me expand. It’s built inside a hand-built home-made RV on a one off tube-frame chassis based on an old Cadillac. Intrigued? So were we. So we got the owner to sit with us a while and tell us all about it.
The Motoraunt is now well over 30 years old, and was built by the owners late husband when he was rendered unable to work in his chosen field as a pipefitter. It was part of a dream; they wanted to build a combination RV and burger-stand, and use it to drive from Edmonton to California; they would set up shop at baseball diamonds, car shows, fairs, street festivals; when the event was over, they’d move on. Unfortunately, the furthest they made it was to the South-West corner of Edmonton.
It’s a pity, too, because the Motoraunt features pretty impressive engineering. Tube-frame chassis, a beast of a front-wheel-drive engine, triple rear axles; it’s pretty well done for any back-yard project. The Motoraunt takes it one step further, however. Because it’s a double-decker, in a country that’s not necessarily built for double-decker vehicles, the entire upper level was designed around a series of hydraulic rams. Everything, from the window level upwards is designed to collapse down into the lower level’s chassis, so all the decorations, the furniture, the cabinets; all have been designed around the roof folding down onto them.
But let’s face it, we weren’t there for the ambiance, cool though it might be. We were there for the food. The menu claimed that the Monster Burger was the Motoraunt’s claim to fame.
And it’s a claim well-earned. The Monster Burger is truly something huge. It’s an entire kilogram of beef, served inside an entire French loaf. Let me put this in perspective. You know those quarter-pound burgers they’re always bragging about on fast-food commercials? Yeah. This is just over eight of them. The two of us split one, and we barely managed to get through half of it.
The truly important thing to take away, however, is not just the size; it is also
a truly excellent burger. The ingredients are all fresh, and the sauces are fantastic. She doesn’t use any store-bought sauces in the preparation of the burger (although there is plain ol’ Heinz ketchup and mustard on the table), and instead makes everything from scratch. She makes her own ketchup, her own mayonnaise, and a third “secret sauce” that she wouldn’t even discuss.
There are some restaurants that are unique because of their location; others are unique because of the atmosphere; others for the history of how it came to be; others because they serve something truly unusual; and finally, still others, just because the food is really, really good. The Motoraunt is all of the above, but it must also be added that it has the further distinction of a really, really great owner who was only too willing to spend her evening — and let us stay there long, long after closing — to tell us her story, and make us a fantastic meal. It is a restaurant by car guys, for car guys… and everyone else.
The Motoraunt: 12406-66th St., Edmonton, Alberta