New Toronto burger restaurant The Works

By Sharon Donaldson »Sharon Donaldson

May 2nd, 2012


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Cottagers appreciate ingenuity, especially if it’s easy to replicate at the lake. That’s why I loved the way my milkshake was served at The Works Gourmet Burger Bistro, a new restaurant on The Danforth in Toronto. It’s part of an Ottawa-based chain with locations throughout Ontario. Each outpost has a unique menu riffing on local neighbourhoods and celebrities.

On Thursday, May 3, 2012, to mark the grand opening on The Danforth (888 Danforth Avenue, 647 748 4455), The Works is serving up complimentary food with a “donate-what-you-want” policy, with  proceeds going to the nearby Pape Food Bank. Check the company’s Facebook page for details.

So for a Toronto-themed lunch, I had to choose between A Walk in High Park (grilled wild mushrooms and gouda cheese), Let’s Go To the Ex! (brie, jack, swiss, and cheddar), and the Leaside (mushrooms, smoky BBQ, cheddar, and double-smoked bacon). Ben Mulroney was represented with his Benny Piggenbeef (caramelized onions, bold BBQ sauce, jack cheese, and crisp bacon). The Sexy Sarah Polley Burger has a sweet and spicy sauce, pineapple, cream cheese, and hot peppers.

The menu got me thinking: If I had to invent my own Rideau-inspired cottage burger, it would be the Forfar Mellow Melt, with cheddar and jack cheese, from Forfar Dairy, and smoky bacon. I’d grill it with a splash of beer.

I finished my lunch with a vanilla milkshake. (Vanilla by default; there were so many flavour choices, I couldn’t decide.) And what was so fun about how the shake was served? It came in a classic Anchor Hocking Fire-King measuring cup. I love casual, low-fuss ideas like that, and I’m always using cooking implements for things they’re not intended for. I drink wine from a tumbler and often use my kitchen scissors instead of a knife.

The only problem with using a measuring cup? I was aware of every calorie-laden millilitre I drank. Oh well.

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Sharon Donaldson