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Montreal-owned chain The Works serves up some of the best burgers in Ontario

    By Mike Cohen
    By Mike Cohen

    Profiling restaurants in Montreal and Beyond

    OTTAWA– Since last summer I have been spending a lot of time in Ottawa, which unquestionably gets my nod as the best “getaway” option for Montrealers as the never-ending COVID-19 pandemic continues to rear its ugly head.

    As a foodie, I love the Ottawa restaurant scene. High on my list is The Works Craft Burgers & Beer (www.worksburger.com). Open since 2001, this wildly popular and award winning full-service neighbourhood bistro is known for its more than 30 different, hand-prepared gourmet burgers, bottomless fresh hand-cut fries, cool classic shakes and ice-cold beer, which are all 100 per cent Canadian. The Works offers guests eight different patty options as well as gluten-free and vegetarian combinations to choose from.

    There are 28 locations in Ontario and as of December 2, one in Cairo, Egypt. So, what about Montreal? In 2017 all the assets of The Works were acquired by the Montreal-based MTY Food Group. Marketing Director Wendy Spence, who “works” out of Oakville, Ontario, notes that when the company embarked upon a recent re-branding process the Stand Montréal marketing firm was hired to lead that process. As for expansion here, Spence believes the Works will likely dip its toes across the bridge from Ottawa, in Gatineau, first. However, if the right franchisee from here surfaces who knows.

    Chefs at The Works are obsessed with making the world’s best burger. They start with only fresh Canadian beef; hand press it daily and then cook it to perfection.  

    In Cairo, some of the menu offerings vary such as no alcohol and replacing pork bacon with beef bacon in keeping with local customs. However, the same gourmet craft burgers, craft poutines and an expanded list of craft milkshakes are available for guests to enjoy. Locally named favs such as The Red Sea featuring cheddar, beef bacon and smokey BBQ sauce and The Nutella Nile, with a river of Nutella piled in the middle of a crunchy onion ring are featured to bring a touch of innovation and creativity to the Cairo burger scene.  

    While the Works locations are all dine-in, they pivoted nicely to take-out and delivery.  At the Glebe location on Bank Street in Ottawa, LaSalle native Tim Ward is the manager and he can vouch for the many Montreal customers who cannot get enough of The Works.

    The menu features appetizers, three different poutines (Chez Guy, Tragically Poutine and Brisket Case), chicken sandwiches, salads, the diverse selection of burgers and sides. A calorie account appears next to each item. From 11 am to 3 pm you can take advantage of the lunch menu, with prices ranging from $12.9 7 to $13.97. There is a kids menu as well.

    The Kobe Style Waygu Beef selections are so popular that on the night I picked up they ran out. Our order consisted of the Son of a Beech (avocado, beech house sauce, sundried tomato and feta), the Magic Mushroom Melt (sautéed mushrooms, caramelized onions and cheddar) and the Hamburger Mary (mayo, egg, tomato, cheddar and bacon). The two others chose weed salads on the side while I opted for good old fashioned kraft dinner. Yes, this menu is a blast to choose from. You can even add Nutella on to a burger.

    For more information log on to www.worksburger.com . Gift cards are available.

    Mike Cohen

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