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The Works - Gourmet Burger Chain (opening in Oakville, already in Ottawa, etc)

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Has anyone been to one of the other franchise locations of a place called The Works?

The are finishing up construction in Oakville and opening on December 15th. I saw a mention that they have hand pressed fresh burgers.

They look like they are mainly focussed in Ottawa area but have locations in London, Kingston, Guelph, etc.

Something I should look forward to or something I should avoid?


Looks decent from the pics I have seen so far.

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  1. I've been to the Ottawa locations several times. Bear in mind that I've only tried the veggie burgers -- but I quite like them. It's one of those "something for everyone" kind of places. And while they do have some more outlandish topping combinations, it's not a pretentious place.

    13 Replies
    1. re: piccola

      In other words, Ottawa's answer to South St....

      1. re: TexSquared

        They predate South Street, I think, and have taken their time in expanding so I hope they'll avoid the mistakes it made.

        1. re: piccola

          OK I'll revise my answer to, the restaurant South Street cloned :-)

          Do they spice the meat (like Licks, Shamrock, etc), or worse, use excessive fillers? Those are huge negatives to me so better I know in advance....

          1. re: TexSquared

            Nope! Check out their website for the details. Definitely not like lick's


            1. re: CanadaGirl

              OK, says no fillers but says nothing about spices. I can't stand that disgusting mix used by Licks and Shamrock....

              1. re: TexSquared

                When I lived in Ottawa we went to The Works occasionally (only had 2 locations back then). Not sure about the spices, but they ground the meat on premises and form the patties as the burgers are ordered. This was why it always took about 15-20 minutes to get your order. Definitely NOT like licks, it was far superior. I still remembering ordering a tower of rings to munch on while we waited for our order (from what I recall the fries were nothing special)

                HOWEVER, that was a number of years ago. Hopefully they haven't changed their ideals, so I guess we will see what happens with the Oakville location.

                1. re: Lazar

                  so they grind the meat to order... If they used any of that disgusting spice mix, you'd see them blend it in before forming the patties. That's good to know.

                  Yeah, superior to Licks isn't hard to do -- frozen patties full of filler and loaded with nasty spice mix... take out any one of the three (frozen, filler, spice mix) and you're already 1 better than Licks :-)

                1. re: Davwud

                  Yep. 20 minutes. There is nothing "fast food" about it.

                  I recommend getting a Tower O Rings - then you won't notice the wait :)

                  1. re: Davwud

                    "fire grilled, for about 20 minutes, to well done"...


                    1. re: childofthestorm

                      someone said you could sign a "waiver" to get it cooked less... Sounds dumb, but, I will be asking for medium when I go to try it out.

                      1. re: ylsf

                        You can sign a waiver to get it less done. I've ate with someone who did. I don't like pink in my ground meat (mental issue:)) but I don't find their burgers dry.

                        1. re: CanadaGirl

                          I'd be curious to read the waiver... I'm sure you waive the right to sue them if you get sick, but how do you waive your right to report them to the public health department?

                          Maybe restaurants should just pre-print the waiver on the backs of the receipts kind of like Ticketmaster tickets (so you can't sue them, the sports team, or the concert promoter...)

        2. "Gourmet Burgers"??

          Oh boy!!


          1. Always enjoyed the works when visiting in Ottawa

            Good burgers, good atmosphere

            1. Absolutely fantastic burgers! So many choices for toppings and I've never been disappointed. Te onion rings are great too.

              They will have to rename some of the burgers though, as Ottawa Senators themed flavours may not go over so well in the GTA!!

              4 Replies
              1. re: CanadaGirl

                tried this place when i was in Ottawa
                nothing special
                the location I went to was very dirty, service was not great
                it was the one on Bank street

                1. re: xiolablue

                  That's not good!

                  Either we have very different tastes (but I'm pretty picky about service and cleanliness) or it was an off day. I've been to that location, and most if the other Ottawa locations many times and have generally been very happy. I'm gonna say it was an off day. I hope so anyway! It has been about 1 year since I've been to Ottawa, but we used to live there.

                  1. re: CanadaGirl

                    I use to live near there and have been several times. Never had an issue with either. It is true that the food takes a while, though.

                2. re: CanadaGirl

                  Agreed. I live in Ottawa and my friends and I take a trip every month to the Works and absolutely love it. Really nice burgers, fantastic rings, and great poutine. Better than any burger I ever had in my years living in Toronto.

                3. The Works is alot better than the generic "gourmet burger" chains we have here in the GTA.

                  I ate at the one in Ottawa before and it was actually really good.

                  Biggest problem is the WAIT TIME.. And waiting even for a table. There was a small lineup out the door

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: duckdown

                    I've tried the locations in both London and Kingston, having heard someone I know from Ottawa rave about it.
                    I must admit, I was quite impressed. Great combos, excellent burgers (both the beef and turkey), fun atmosphere, etc.
                    So, I will be happy if they come to Toronto ;)

                  2. Today is the grand opening. I am going to try to pass by and get some dinner. Free burgers and they are accepting donations for charity... Expecting it to be busy but I am not far from there:


                    1 Reply
                    1. So I went to the grand opening on the 15th. I drove by and saw a line up out the door and down the sidewalk and I was thinking to myself "do I really want to line up for a burger!". Anyway, since the proceeds were going to charity and it was a relatively warm night out I decided to line up and see how quickly the line moved.

                      I was impressed for the first night/day open how quickly they were getting people through the restaurant. Considering the line up the 45 minute wait outside wasn't that bad at all. The staff was very friendly and organized as I mentioned. I think they had some stuff in from other locations because otherwise I would be surprised if they had so many people who were on the payroll for one location.

                      Anyway, I was expecting more of a "south street" style place - go up to counter and order, wait , get your burger and sit down. However, this is an actual restaurant although very casual of course. They do not have take out up and running yet but said they will in the new year. I imagine other locations do.

                      So, I had a chance to look at the menu in line. It is written on a brown paper bag type material. The menu is pretty overwhelming. The burger list/combo is huge. It is pretty daunting for someone who is used to a "I will add pickles, lettuce, cheddar" type selection. There are some really interesting combinations on the menu but it was hard to decide because you almost had to go through each one and couldn't easily group them together in your head. Oh, and to answer TexSquared question there are a few burgers on the menu that have spices mixed in (or added when grilled? not sure) but most of them do not have flavours in the patty. For example, I think there is one with jerk seasoning.

                      The burger took about 25/30 minutes to arrive but they warned me it would take at least 20 minutes and considering all of the tables were full and it was there first night I found that acceptable. If I was in a rush for lunch, not sure if that 20 minutes would be practical for me but then again even South Street isn't exactly "fast food". I talked to the owner after (also very friendly guy, he said Oakville was his home town, I am not sure his involvement with the chain but it sounds like he may be involved with the main chain and not just a franchise). He said that they first cook it on an open gas grill and then put it in a pan with the cheese on top and cover it and cook it to 165. The burger itself was still very juicy and had good flavour. I went with the "on the red line" or something like that which had roasted red pepper, bacon and cheddar cheese (held the mayo). I like that they actually cut up the red pepper, sometimes places will just throw on a whole one on there. Oh, and I think this burger was around $12.50 with a side of fries (although I skipped the fries to upgrade)

                      Oh, I also added a side of onion rings (i.e. replaced the fries with rings). It was expensive to do so (over $3) but they were VERY tasty. If I went there with a few people I would probably order their tower of onion rings. I rank them up there with the ones from W Burger bar and the rings they used to serve at stockyards. The tower is huge though and probably would be enough to feed 4 people if you didn't want to get sick on onion ring overload :) But, that means I didn't get to try the fries. They looked good based on a visual inspection of passing dishes!

                      Oh, and I asked about getting my burger served on the "medium/pink" side and the first hostess said "no problem, just ask your server" and when I asked the waitress she said they no longer do that, they no longer even do the waiver thing. Her explaination was that they are now using different suppliers across Ontario so don't have as much control on that aspect of things. Well, I talked to the owner and he had a different reason. He was talking about recent "ontario" legislation that would make it illegal for him to cook it at less than 165. I thought this kind of stuff was regulated on the municipal level. I asked him if they ground the meat on site and he said they didn't. I asked if that would make a difference and he said it wouldn't. He said that some mom/pop places probably get away with it but as a chain they need to be extra careful. There was still a hint of pink in my burger but I guess it was cooked to 165 still. Anyway, I didn't know enough about the regulations to ask more/clarify.

                      Oh, almost forgot. I got a small version of their shake. They serve it in a measuring cup (I think all drinks in measuring cups). It was very tasty. I would recommend their shakes for sure.

                      So, TLDR version summary:

                      Good/ above average burger, kind of on the expensive side but worth while at least trying once. Will probably be back if burger urge strikes me and in the area.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: ylsf

                        Did they say anything about when the Guelph location would be opening?

                        1. re: Tatai

                          Sorry, I didn't ask. But, I saw on the menu mention of Toronto locations coming soon too.