Normally I’m not one to make sweeping declarations (or maybe I do it all the time, I can’t remember), but I think Derek makes the best burgers in town.

The accomplished chef and proud restaurant owner:

Derek was born in Thunder Bay (Westfort kid!) and has spent many years working in the food industry. He started as a dishwasher at age 16 and attended the food program at Confederation College, followed by more schooling and an apprenticeship through George Brown in Toronto.

Upon returning to Thunder Bay, Derek worked at the Airlane for four years, then worked out of town for several years. He came back (again) and worked as the head chef at The Foundry for awhile. He won a Top Chef award in 2013 and a Nova award in 2014.

Last year, Derek decided to take that final step and open up his own restaurant. The city of Thunder Bay is so lucky to have this guy and his team making such amazing food!

This menu is stacked:

Some of pictures on the Beefcake’s Facebook page:

Mouth watering! And Soup Mama in the second row of pictures up there is lovely too!

Speaking of Soup Mama, Derek is a huge believer in partnering with other local businesses and artisans. He believes in joining forces and building community. When I was there, I saw some of my own art on the walls, as well as a print from boy Roland. There was heartbeat hot sauce all over the place and Soup Mama soups are available to purchase whenever in stock. And that’s just what I saw when I walked in the door. There are more:

– Nor’wester Maple Syrup (Sean is a magician and helped me find the perfect consistency for what I wanted)

– Rose n Crantz Coffee

– Pork from haywire farms

– B+B Farms potatoes

Derek is a good boss and shows such kindness and care to his employees, his fellow business owners, and every customer that comes through the door. Not once have I ever heard anything negative said about Derek and Beefcake’s Burgers.

I was very impressed by the pop fridge. It’s not as important as the burgers, but it’s seriously impressive and strangely beautiful :

And the burgers are stunning:

And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Derek’s socks. He has about 75 pairs and posts new sock pictures all the time on his Instagram. Did I ask him to take off his shoe? I most certainly did!

When not working and cooking, Derek loves spending time with his wife Steph and their two cats and two dogs. He also loves working out (and is steadfast about maintaining his substantial weight loss), and writing. He wrote and released a delightful cookbook a few years ago and it was very well received.

Thank you for being such a great host, Derek. I’ll be back for sure!


  1. I love that guy, and that place!!

  2. The location does not appear. I will google it because I seriously want to check it out.

    1. Author

      Oops! It’s in the same building as the Hodder if that helps. I’ll edit as well

  3. Great article Leah!!. Soup Mama is a amazing women and amazing business women!! She also supports local businesses and is very vocal about supporting all the great amazing local places!! Cant wait to try Dereks new place soon!! Ive only ever heard and seen great things from and about him!! I try to only support local businesses and hope others will also!!

    1. Author

      I hope you get to try Derek’s burgers soon! I featured Soup Mama in 2018 on the blog, she’s great! I love that tbay has so many amazing small locally owned businesses and artisans!

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