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BITE: Werk That Cheese
Get to know the first restaurant in Canada to put gooey artisan cheese at the centre of every dish

I am aware of my weaknesses, and I know cheese is one of them. Sometimes you avoid places because you know it will overwhelm your desires and you won’t be able to control yourself. I’ve known about Cheesewerks for some time– I’ve visited the website and read the menu and did not walk in. I knew what would happen. But like many, my willpower has limits.

Cheesewerks bills itself as the first and only restaurant in Canada to put artisan cheese at the centre of every dish. Whether it’s a grilled cheese sandwich or mac and cheese, Cheesewerks jams it full of Canadian artisan cheese. Open for a year and a half on Bathurst near Front Street, this cheese restaurant is owned by Kevin Durkee, Tom Douangmixay, and their daughter Taylor.

According to Kevin, the perfect grilled cheese sandwich is just like perfecting any other food — you must have the best ingredients. The cheese is Canadian and the bread comes from St. John’s Bakery. Cheese should be grated and not sliced so it heats and melts evenly.

The menu is easy to navigate. Dishes are named after cities and can be made into a grilled cheese, quesadilla, mac and cheese, or nachos. One of the most popular cities is Beijing ($10.95/$11.95) with asiago, Chinese BBQ pork, hoisin and green onions. Kevin calls it “legend dairy.” The Los Angeles ($9.25/$10.25) is a vegetarian’s delight with smashed avocado, arugula, citrus compote, and so much melted Havarti cheese that it oozes out every side.

The Picton ($9.25/$10.25) was suggested by my editor and ordered as a bowl of macaroni and cheese. It was a rich, creamy bowl of pasta covered in aged cheddar, thin slices of green apple, wine-infused onions, and a hint of maple syrup.

Cheesewerks is proud of their other house-made items like refreshing sodas, ketchup, and dips. Not just a place to grab a gooey sandwich, the owners have created a gathering place with their popular trivia nights. Something Kevin calls, “a warm, cozy good time with great friends and great food.”

Starting this Friday, you can expect hot weather additions like sangria, salads, and cold sandwiches to be added to the menu. I don’t know about you, but a grilled cheese sandwich and sangria sound like the perfect summer meal to me.

Follow Cheesewerks on Twitter: @cheesewerks

____

Pay Chen is a TV and radio host, writer, and producer who puts a lot of things in her mouth. If you have a favourite spot in the city to share, follow her on Twitter at @PayChen.

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