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Occurs on Saturday March 2 2024

Approximate running time: 2 hours


Roxy Theatre
251 9th St East
Owen Sound Ontario N4K 1N8

Event Notes

× The Roxy Theatre and Tom Thomson Art Gallery present the return of the Owen Sound’s Reel Festival on Saturday, March 2.

The Lebanese Burger Mafia - Saturday March 2 at 11am at the Roxy Theatre The meaty saga of a rogue fast-food chain with mysterious origins, a cult following, and a secret pathway to the immigrant dream, filmmaker and heir to a Burger Baron franchise, Omar Mouallem captures the relentless battle over the chain's trademark rights.

In the late 1950s, Irish-American entrepreneur Jack McDonnell moved his family to Calgary, hoping to start a fast-food empire and beat the other burgeoning “Mc”eatery to the punch in Canada. The Burger Baron brand flourished, then declared bankruptcy in 1961, only to be revitalized—but not in the way its founder may have predicted.

In its heyday, there were more than 50 locations, thanks to a wave of Lebanese immigrants who arrived throughout the 1970s and independently owned and operated Burger Barons in small towns throughout Alberta. Director Omar Mouallem grew up in his parents’ restaurant and now explores its origins and connections to the Lebanese diaspora in this diner-driven trip across the Prairies. As owners and their descendants of this loosely formed syndicate reflect on the opportunities and obstacles of their family businesses, a unique immigrant experience unfolds. But don’t expect anyone to give up the secret to their special mushroom sauce (of which no two are identical).

“Rich in economic, cultural, culinary and familial histories, the amusing, cheekily titled, and disarmingly complex documentary The Lebanese Burger Mafia is a satisfyingly full meal.” - Andrew Parker, The Gate Nominated for several Best Documentary Film awards.

99 minutes

Film note by Hot Docs programmer Alexander Rogalski.

Full-day pass - $65; individual films - $25 each.


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