LEBANESE BURGER MAFIA, THE
In the late 1950s, Irish-American entrepreneur Jack McDonnell moved his family to Calgary with hopes of starting a fast-food empire and beating 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).
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