Chef’s Corner: Joe Friday, Friday Burger Company


Joe Friday was exposed to different cuisines from a young age, experiencing memorable dishes that went on to influence his own cooking. Born in North Carolina and raised in Okinawa, Japan, Friday “grew up in a very food-centric family, eating many home-cooked meals and travelling. I lived in Japan for 10 years, so I got to see my parents be creative in the kitchen and use different ingredients. That experience began to shape my love for food.”

Friday attended the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) in New York, and at age 20, he was invited to join the culinary program at Walt Disney World as one of 10 international students to finish off his degree in Restaurant Management.

“After I earned my degree, I spent two years in Europe to learn more about different cultures and cuisines,” says Friday. “I worked in different restaurants around the world in unpaid roles because I loved travelling and wanted to gain any knowledge I could. My travel history has influenced my culinary style. I like to call it cooking without borders.”

Upon his return to the U.S., Friday held a variety of roles as he continued to refine his culinary skills before moving to Toronto to be part of the opening team for Oliver & Bonacini’s Luma at TIFF Bell Lightbox. He was also part of the opening team at Bar Mozza and became part owner and executive chef of ViaVai (both restaurants are now closed). He went on to be part owner and chef at Calii Love and, in 2013, Friday founded The Chef Collective, an organization that supports chefs by providing a platform to showcase their talents through live culinary battles.

“I enjoy giving chefs a platform to compete through The Chef Collective. It gives chefs the opportunity to break out of their shell and show people how good they are at what they do. Throughout my career, in leadership roles in the kitchen, I’ve shared a lot of advice with people under me to help them succeed whether they want to be entrepreneurs or lifetime corporate chefs. To this day, I have seen seven people who worked under me go on to become sous chefs/owners of restaurants, and I take pride in that.”

In 2019, Friday opened Friday Roots in Toronto, which was permanently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but he’s now gearing up to open his latest solo venture, Friday Burger Company, this summer. The quick-service joint, dedicated to handmade fresh burgers and chicken sandwiches, will be located in a brand-new food hall, TABLE Fare + Social (TABLE), at CIBC Square in downtown Toronto.

To say Friday loves burgers is an understatement. Known as “The Burger Guy,” Friday has reviewed hundreds of burgers on TikTok and tasted more than 700 burgers in the last 10 years. He’s also spent more than 20 years perfecting his own burger recipe. Standout menu items include Banana Pudding ($6.99), Mississippi Mud Pie Milkshake ($6.99), Chili Cheeseburger ($8.99) and Carolina Burger ($8.99).

“One of the first restaurants I ever worked at was a burger joint in Jacksonville, N.C., and I’ve always wanted to get back to making burgers,” says Friday. “My burger restaurant is going to [offer customers] a piece of the south and celebrate the historic and cultural impact of burgers in America.”

In the future, Friday is determined to not only grow the brand in the GTA, but also take the brand across the border. “The food hall can accommodate roughly 200 people, and hopefully they’re all eating burgers. We’re looking at other locations, so hopefully we’ll have a more standard restaurant size sometime down the road,” he says.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.