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Introducing: Cheesewerks, Toronto’s latest grilled cheese shrine

There are few amongst the lactose tolerant who can resist the pull of a grilled cheese sandwich. At least that’s what Kevin Durkee and Tom Douangmixay, the owners of Cheesewerks, are counting on, joining the likes of the Grilled Cheese in Kensington Market and The Construction Site at Yonge and Eglinton. We got a glimpse of the shop’s offerings during its stint at the Distillery’s Christmas market. Last week, they officially launched their new Bathurst Street shop.

After pursing a marketing career for years, Durkee, who grew up in his mother’s tearoom, decided to open up a restaurant with his husband, Douangmixay. Their menu focuses on cheeses from the likes of Balderson, Glengarry and Upper Canada Cheese, and pairs them with craft beers (Flying Monkeys, Amsterdam) and wines (Stonechurch, Palatine Hills) from around the country. The bread, including some exclusive loaves and a gluten-free pick, is all sourced from St. John’s Bakery. In the new year, a tasting series featuring cheese makers will allow fromagophiles a peek at what goes into producing artisanal cheese.

Though Canadian products dominate the menu, most of the sandwiches are named after a different world city, pinpointing spots that have been important in Durkee and Douangmixay’s lives. The Beijing features barbecued pork, green onions and hoisin sauce smothered in asiago and grilled between slices of green onion potato bread ($10). Veggie lovers can opt for the Los Angeles, which has avocado, arugula and citrus compote melted with Havarti on grilled sourdough bread ($8.50). The Toronto is a stack of mini-wiches, with patrons choosing two of the Koreatown (gruyère and kimchee), Little Italy (tomato, basil and mozzarella) and the Danforth (aged goat cheddar and olive tapenade) ($9.50). Durkee tells us he’s planning on expanding into other neighbourhood-based creations in the future—we can only imagine what, say, Parkdale might taste like.

Cheesewerks, 56 Bathurst St., 416-243-3327, cheesewerks.com

Our Introducing series explores newly opened restaurants, bars and shops throughout the GTA
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