|Visited On:||May 9, 2012|
|Gluten Free Menu:||No; ask at the counter about their options|
|Variety of Gluten-Free Options:||1/2|
|Overall Gluten-Friendly Rating:|
|Price Range:||$5-$15 per person (plus tax and tip)|
There has been a huge buzz about Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers and Poutinerie since they opened in Woodside in February. Lineups have been out the door almost every day. They had to expand after being open for just two weeks. Unfortunately, their initial menu only offered one gluten-free option: a veggie lentil and bean burger with no bun. Yuck!
However, one thing that Cheese Curds has quickly become known for is caring about each customer. We’ve been in touch with them several times to ask about gluten-free options and suggest a local bun source, and they have always been happy to hear our comments and apologetic that they couldn’t do more. This past Monday (May 7), they launched an official set of gluten-free options. We had to check it out!
Cheese Curds is tiny, loud, and apparently always busy, even on a rainy Wednesday night. You order takeout style, although there are a few tables in the restaurant. There was only one cash register open (of the two available) and an extremely cheerful young man operating it. And although you order takeout style, the service couldn’t be more different than what you get at your local burger joint.
Our server was happy to see us and happy to talk about their gluten-free options. The line stretching to the door might as well not have existed. He informed me that they have a beef and veggie burger, both available on a gluten-free bun, as well as gluten-free fries. The burgers are done on a George Foreman grill separate from the regular burgers, and the fries are also cooked separately. He had a conference with the folks in the back to ensure that my meal would be done right, and one of the cooks came to the front with him to make sure everything was entered properly.
I ordered a regular 6 oz. Black Angus beef burger combo, with cheese curds on the fries. (Their gravy is not gluten-free, but their curry sauce and CC dipping sauce is.) My meal was $8.75 plus $1.50 for the cheese curds; no extra charge for the gluten-free items, which is very rare and very nice! Mike ordered a BBQ Triple Bacon burger with cheese and poutine on the side ($10.95 plus $3.25 for the poutine). (Fountain pop was included with our combos, too.)
It wasn’t long before our meals were up and we were asked what toppings we wanted on our burgers. There are about eight sauces and 30 vegetable-related toppings. Since I wasn’t sure what sauces were gluten-free, I stuck with ketchup and some basic veggies. (Between the lineup of different burgers with different kinds of meats, plus all the toppings and sauces, I think a non-Celiac would be able to eat here for a year and not have the same thing twice!)
We were impressed that the burgers actually looked like the pictures on the menu, and they tasted just as good as they looked. The meat is fresh, high quality, and perfectly seasoned. The patties are shaped the same as the buns. (My gluten-free burger was an oval shape, Mike’s was a circle.) The gluten-free buns were fresh, thin (but not too thin), and had a good taste and texture. Mike’s bun had sesame seeds, was nice and soft, and also had just the perfect amount of bread.
The gluten-free French fries were perfectly seasoned and delicious, especially with the real cheese curds. They were generous with the cheese, too. Mike described his poutine as “amazing,” with a perfect balance of fresh gravy (nice and light) and cheese curds.
It’s apparent that Cheese Curds takes pride in everything that they do. We noticed that most of the materials they use (French fry boxes, utensils, etc.) are compostable. Every customer was treated like they were the first person in that day. The care they took with my meal was impressive and extraordinary. Thanks for caring, Cheese Curds!
Cheese Curds Gourmet Burgers and Poutinerie
380 Pleasant Street (Woodside)
UPDATE – Fall 2013
We’ve had a few return visits to Cheese Curds (both the Burnside and Woodside locations). We’re sad to say that the gluten-free options at both locations have diminished considerably.
All poutines and hot dogs at both locations contain gluten. French fries at both locations are not gluten-free, either. As well, their vegetarian burger is no longer gluten-free. In fact, the list of gluten-free burgers was down to six at the last visit, and almost all of those required significant modification. On our last visit, the patty I ordered was so much larger than the bun that everything basically disintegrated into a sloppy mess. It was really disappointing and a far cry from our first amazing experience.
We’ll keep an eye on Cheese Curds news and let you know if we see any more changes. If you have news, please share it with us in the Comments section!