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Local restaurant offers local food and a friendly atmosphere

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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Written by Stephanie Rennie

As a vegetarian of six years, I can sympathize with the difficulty in finding a restaurant that gives actual options to vegetarians and vegans. Living in Guelph has been a treat as many likeminded people share the same desire to eat meat-free and local. Although there are a lot of chain restaurants in the area that have minimal options, there are several quaint shops downtown that offer fantastic food for veggie lovers. The downtown has recently welcomed a new restaurant to fill the gap by providing delicious food that is friendly to all lifestyles, diets and allergies.

Opening its doors just two months ago, The Works has won over the hearts of meat lovers and vegetarians alike. With a wide-spanning menu primarily focused on burgers, The Works has transformed the once boring veggie burger. After trying out the vegetarian options at The Works, I was quickly smitten with the fajita burger.

Guelph is known for its large vegetarian/vegan community and supporters of local food. The Works offers vegans a Portobello mushroom burger option and offers vegetarians a veggie patty. Both burgers have endless topping combinations, making this particular restaurant especially veggie-friendly. Though no gluten free option is available yet, the owners informed me that they are open to people bringing in their own gluten free buns or opting out of a bun option.

When speaking with owners Brian Cachia and Matt Martindale, I was also able to gain further insight into the mandates of this restaurant, in terms of local food and community support.

On top of winning over taste buds, The Works is also committed to ensuring that all of the food is local to Guelph. The beef is sourced from Leadbeater Farm in Orillia and the elk patties come from The Elk Ranch in Kanata. All other ingredients are local to Ontario. Even the beer comes from small, local breweries from around the Guelph area. Brian Cachia expressed that The Works is “very Canadian focused.”

Owner Matt Martindale has lived in Guelph for most of his life and explained that this is “a way to give back to the Guelph community.” On the first day of operation on December 7th 2011, the restaurant allowed customers to eat for free to try out the menu. Instead of receiving profits, the owners requested donations for the Guelph Food Bank and managed to make an astounding $2000 to support an organization in need. Matt commented that the success of this event “shows how supportive the community of Guelph is.” The support is mutual as The Works has received assistance from the Guelph community and also has supported many local causes.

Matt Martindale explained that the “first promotion was partnered with the Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis.” This fundraiser just finished in early February and Matt and Brian are anxiously awaiting the total results. Starting on February 6th, another promotion began called “Top Ten Burgers”. The nature of this campaign is to donate one dollar from each of the top ten burgers to the Heart and Stroke Foundation in Guelph. Matt commented that “The Works is eager to get involved” and welcomes community organizations to contact them.

The University of Guelph’s very own Central Student Association is also famous at The Works. The CSA Commissioners for 2011-2012 named their delicious burger “Student Movement.” Many local organizations, politicians and sports teams have named their own burger as well, adding to the personal vibe of the restaurant.

If you love local food, a friendly atmosphere and delicious milkshakes, I highly recommend The Works for an intimate dinner or a social lunch.

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