A 4-ounce Hero burger with beef, portabella mushrooms, lettuce, tomato and crispy onions, topped with a dab of mayonnaise. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

A hamburger joint popular in the Greater Toronto area has landed on the Elmwood strip. The former Zetti's location at 976 Elmwood Ave. has become the first Hero Certified Burgers in the United States.

The franchise’s signature offering is all-natural, fully traceable Angus beef raised on western Canadian ranges without hormones or antibiotics. No chemicals, no fillers, no additives. The burgers can be garnished with high-end toppings like guacamole, crispy fried onions and bacon in both pork and beef.

The outside of Hero Certified Burgers, who is in the former Zetti's at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

The outside of Hero Certified Burgers, who is in the former Zetti's at the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

The franchise’s red, white and blue signage seemed to capture the attention of people shopping at the Elmwood-Bidwell Farmers Market across the street on Saturday. The small room has mostly bar seating facing Elmwood Avenue.

Besides build-your-own burger options, including a vegetarian and fish burger, there’s poutine, and fries in sweet potato and zucchini, and shakes made from soft serve ice cream. Hero Certified Burgers says they can cater to gluten-avoidant customers and those with celiac disease if you let them know when you order.

The menu board at the Elmwood Avenue Hero Certified Burgers, the first in the United States. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

The menu board at the Elmwood Avenue Hero Certified Burgers, the first in the United States. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

Similar to the Five Guys “little burger” option, at Hero Burger you can opt to get a 4-ounce burger ($4.99), a 6-ounce ($6.49) or 8-ounce ($7.99) protein patty. Although the focus is on their high quality beef burgers, they also offer their soul burger (100-percent vegetarian patty, $5.99), chicken breast ($6.49), wild Alaskan salmon fillet ($7.49) and 100-percent seasoned Angus beef hot dogs ($4.89). If you build your own burger, you then move on to choose your bread, cheese and toppings that start at $1.

The poutine from Hero Certified Burgers featured dark, salty gravy and melted cheese. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

The poutine from Hero Certified Burgers featured dark, salty gravy and melted cheese. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

I selected the 4-ounce beef patty on ciabatta roll with goat cheese, lettuce, tomato, crispy onions, portabella mushrooms and a dab of mayo.  Crispy ciabatta crust, burger cooked well so you could taste the char, plus a splash of umami from creamy goat cheese and hearty portabella mushrooms made a high-quality impression.

Zucchini fries are one of the unusual choices from Hero Certified Burgers. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

Zucchini fries are one of the unusual choices from Hero Certified Burgers. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

Original poutine fries ($5.59), also available with beef or mushrooms added, were smothered in salty gravy and melted cheese. On a cool fall day, it hit the spot. There’s also regular fries, sweet potato fries, onion rings or tempura zucchini, which I couldn’t turn down. Fried until crispy and golden brown, the zucchini was juicy with a slight doughy flavor.  They were delicious even without dipping sauce.

Info: Hero Certified Burgers, 976 Elmwood Ave., 881-4376

The exterior of Hero Certified Burgers on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

The exterior of Hero Certified Burgers on the corner of Elmwood Avenue and Bidwell Parkway. (Jessica Kelly/Special to The News)

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