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I had heard a lot about Cheesewerks in the week leading up to its opening so I was excited to try some of their specialty grilled cheese sandwiches. Located on Bathurst and Wellington, it isn’t exactly in the vicinity of my workplace so lunch wasn’t an option. Instead, Chris and I dropped by for dinner after work one evening.

The Beijing with a side of roasted garlic & red pepper ketchup

Cheesewerks serves up a selection of specialty grilled cheese sandwiches inspired by certain cities such as New York, Los Angeles and Charleston. They also have a menu item called the Toronto, which features a mini tower of grilled cheese sliders inspired by Toronto’s foodie neighborhoods – Koreatown, the Danforth and Little Italy. For $9.50 you get a choice of two sliders.

I noticed on their menu board that you can change the bread or cheese on their sandwiches for $1 and a gluten-free option is available for $1.50. Bacon can also be added to any sandwich for an extra $3.

The restaurant is basically a fast-food joint, where you order/pay first and the food is brought to your table. Seems like a place that would get pretty busy during the lunch rush.

The Beijing

We stood there for a few minutes trying to decide what to order when the cashier informed us that the most popular item was the Beijing – asiago, bbq pork, hoisin, slivered green onion and grilled on their signature green onion potato bread ($10).

To be honest, that was the one grilled cheese sandwich I wasn’t considering. I’m always a little skeptical about Asian-influenced items at non-Asian restaurants. However, the cashier sold me on it and I’m so glad we listened to her. The combination of the ingredients resulted in a taste that resembled a peking duck wrap. And since I love peking duck, I loved this grilled cheese. When I first read the ingredients, I wasn’t sure the cheese would work but it all worked surprisingly well. A fantastic grilled cheese sandwich!

The Houston

The other sandwich we shared was the Houston – jalapeno jack cheese, braised beef brisket, house-made bbq sauce grilled on marble sourdough ($9.25). One of the selling points for us was the “braised beef brisket.” Boy were we surprised when it came served with a couple thin slices of what resembled the sliced roast beef you get from the grocery store. Not exactly the braised beef brisket we were expecting.

Expectations aside, my first bite was decent but once the sandwich got a little colder it didn’t taste great (on a side note – the Beijing sandwich still tasted pretty darn good even as it started to get a little cold). The only thing that saved the sandwich for me was the Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Ketchup, which we ordered on the side for an extra $0.75. This house-made ketchup was simply amazing! It really added that much-needed oomph to the sandwich.  The other house-made ketchup that Cheesewerks offers is spicy sriracha, which I bet is quite nice as well.

Roasted Tomato Cream Soup

To compliment their grilled cheese sandwiches, Cheesewerks serves tomato soup for $5 a bowl. I couldn’t resist and went with the Roasted Tomato Cream Soup – oven-roasted tomatoes, garlic + oregano, pureed with fresh cream. The other option is a cream-less tomato soup made with a broth base.

To be honest, the soup wasn’t anything special. It was just an okay tomato soup which seemed to be missing something. We didn’t even end up finishing this, despite how hungry we were. I think my favourite part of the soup was their signature herb croutons.

While ordering our meal, the cashier informed us that today they were giving away free sweets to their customers, with the choice of a brownie or molasses cookie. Chris and I both opted for the brownie. We both thought it was a nice treat… until we took a bite out of it. That’s when we knew why they were giving them away for free. They were awfully stale and chalky. Ah well… I’m sure they’re a lot better when they’re fresh.

A free brownie

I have to say I was rather underwhelmed by my experience at Cheesewerks, especially given all the hype around the opening of this place. For $10 a sandwich, I also found the prices to be on the high side. The sandwiches weren’t very big and I actually left still feeling hungry, which rarely happens. So what’s the final verdict? I loved the Beijing sandwich but the rest of the meal was rather unmemorable…with so many other options in the city for a meal under $10, I don’t think I’ll be back.

Cheesewerks interior

At a glance:
• Serving up specialty grilled cheese sandwiches
• Loved the Beijing; everything else was unmemorable
• Portions aren’t huge…left hungry
• Prices are high – around $10 per sandwich

Ratings (out of 5):
• Food: 2.5 stars (4 stars for the Beijing though!)
• Service: 3 stars
• Atmosphere: 3 stars



  1. Precilla (Reply) on Monday 2, 2012

    A grilled cheese that taste like a Peking duck wrap!? I must try that out!!!

    • Jess (Reply) on Monday 2, 2012

      If you like peking duck, you’ll like this! Too bad the other things we ordered weren’t worth ordering again…

      • The Big Cheese (Reply) on Monday 2, 2012


        Big Cheese from CHEESEWERKS here – sorry to hear that the other items you tried weren’t up to your (our) standards. If you’d like to come back in I’m happy to have you try a couple other grilled cheese to change your mind.

        We appreciate the feedback and as a new place we are making tweaks and changes all the time from great feedback like yours and others.

        This is a family-run, independent business and want to make our customers happy. Send me an email to and we’ll try again to make you a fan.


        • Jess (Reply) on Monday 2, 2012

          Thanks for the comment, Kevin! I’m happy to hear that you’re taking your customers’ feedback into account. I’m looking forward to trying your “newly improved Houston”.

  2. Food Dood (Reply) on Monday 2, 2012

    Kevin, I have some feedback! Thanks for asking.

    I also experienced the grocery sliced beef and was shocked it was served from such a cool new place and for so much money!. You make it all sound so awesome and then it is a huge, huge let down! Slow cooked brisket or something and it was hardly that.

    Personally I feel like the place is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The portions are tiny, the prices are high, the food is not special once you realize the fact that fat and salt taste good and shouldn’t cost so much. We left hungry with no desire to return.

    Also, where are the vegetables???

    Sorry but that is my feedback!

    • Jess (Reply) on Monday 2, 2012

      I’m glad I’m not the only person who felt the same about the Houston. Seems like it’s been a common complaint since I’ve been informed that they’re making improvements to it.