I’m not exactly sure when Five Guys Burgers & Fries opened up in the States or when it became such a big thing. Honestly it just seems like it’s another restaurant that has gone by the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid. They made the menu small and tried to hit the few menu items out of the park.
The chain reminds me vaguely of a college-town restaurant that was extremely popular in Athens, Georgia – Go Dawgs! They served chicken fingers and sandwiches made of said chicken with a special sauce. I went once and that was all I needed. Funny thing – most of the press clippings on the walls of Five Guys seem to be from either college newspapers or alternative newspapers, which mainly college students read.
The interesting thing about this location in Saskatoon was that there was a pretty good mix of clientele – from families with kids to 20-somethings to older couples. That said, if you have a high sensitivity to Gluten, you might want to skip chancing this one.
Five Guys Burgers & Fries
Rating – 3.5 out of 5 Peppers – Burgers, hot dogs and fries. Good toppings, good food, but you pay for it.
Location: Eighth Street, Saskatoon
Restaurant type: At your own discretion Gluten Friendly – There is no GF menu. What you see is what you get. If you don’t eat the buns, your burger or hot dog is technically GF as are most of the non-sauce fixin’s and fries. That said, I won’t use their sauce selection and/or would be very leery of cross-contamination as nothing is separated in the kitchen.
Food: The quality of the food was pretty good. It’s definitely better than a fast food burger and in some ways, they serve better burgers than say a chain such as Milestone’s (Canadian) or Applebees (American). One of the best things about this place is the bag of fries – about the only thing worth the exorbitant price of the burgers.
Selection: The only real selection you have here is with or without cheese or bacon on your small or large hot dog or burger. Oh and you can have your fries with Cajun spice that is not as good as my recipe. Beyond that the list of options to put on the burgers is impressive if not a rather standard group of choices – jalapenos and hot sauce being the only standouts for burger fair.
Price: Granted you get a double with each burger and a big ole bag o’ fries, but … It’s not worth it – I could spend just as much and feed five guys at my place with tastier options and better quality. The price is what will keep me away from this place.
Spicy Ending: It’s high quality, but simple burgers, It’s honestly not worth the price or the hype for me to go out of my way.
Shortly BC, I didn’t know anything about Gluten Free food. I was pretty sure that gluten helped with elasticity in pizza and other types of dough. Other than that, I was clueless. Like most people I likely assumed that Gluten Free was taste free.
Well, since then I have discovered and proven to many family and friends that Gluten Free is Not Taste Free. And the Griffin Takeaway is one of those places that also proves that! People should try the Takeaway’s food whether they are on a GF diet or not. These guys are legit and Mom and Pop, and are worth the money. Let me tell you why …
The Griffin Takeaway
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Peppers – While this bakery/restaurant has loads of options, many of those options border on the culinary side of cooking rather than the Mom & Pop side that their facade suggests. There is nothing wrong with their food, it’s mostly delicious! There are just times when it might be cool to have something a little less French Bakery inspired and more Grandma inspired!
Location: Eighth Street E, Saskatoon
Restaurant type: Gluten Free with Vegan and Dairy and Nut Free options – While the Takeaway is primarily a GF bakery, they also do lunches for takeout.
Food: When I was diagnosed with Celiac, it was about a week before my 40th birthday. What a great shock that was! On the other hand, I found Griffin Takeaway with a week and my wife surprised me with a birthday cake from them. It was decadent, moist and definitely made me realize that Gluten Free does not mean taste free. The cake was a chocolate cake with an apple filling topped with a peanut butter frosting. Right up my alley, not too dense and just awesome.
Recently I went back in for lunch because I had time and I was close by, I was feeling adventurous so I went for the Flax Vegan bread Cheese-A-Tarian paired with a Fully Loaded baker and finished with a granola bar. The flax bread was light and moist, perfectly complementing the mixture of cheddars, cream cheese and feta along with tomatoes. The baked potato could have been a bit better – the chickpea chili needed more spice but was good overall and it needed to be warmed a bit more. And I’m sure people like the granola bars; it was uber-moist and chewy but seemed more like fruit cake than an actual granola bar to me.
Selection: For their lunch menu, there are surprisingly few options That said they do those options very well. On the flip side, they have a ton of different options for their bakery – they feature a ton of different cookies, breads, and other bakery options. In some ways, the simplicity of their store does little justice to the complexity of their food and the time and effort they lovingly put into it. That said, you can tell that they focus more on being a bakery and less on the variety of lunch menu since I don’t think it’s changed in a couple years. Eh, if it’s not broke, right?
Price: Most GF food is a little more expensive to start with. The lunch and the birthday cake I got were both a bit more expensive. However the prices were not high enough that I won’t go back to get takeout or get another cake.
Spicy Ending: There are a few GF restaurants in Toon Town. The Griffin Takeaway is one of the best!
In the U.S.A., Chili’s is a fairly popular chain restaurant based on Southwest and Southern fusion with a penchant for hot and spicy food.. And as restaurants went in the States, it was one of my favourites and then we moved north of the border. Chili’s were few and much farther between.
The first one in Saskatoon opened about three to four years ago and the service and food was not stellar. This was due partially to the fact that it is not corporate. part of the American chain, but also partially because it was a franchise. In the years since, the service has improved drastically, as has the quality of the food.
But that was all Pre-CD. In the last two years since diagnosis, I was learning what I could eat and what I couldn’t without glutenizing myself. Then, my family went back again, I figured out they had a GF menu and this is where the review will start! 😉
Rating – 4.5 out of 5 Peppers – The service has become a highlight and the food has become much more consistent and better in quality to the point that it now one of our favourite restaurants. The only reason it’s not a 5 out of 5 is the simple reason it’s not a GF restaurant.
Location: Preston Crossing, Saskatoon
Restaurant type: Gluten friendly – they have a GF menu, but it is better to talk to the wait staff. Supposedly the menu has not been updated in quite awhile and there are other options that should be included.
Food: On my last visit, I tried one of their new steaks, a Pepper Jack Ribeye. Along with the perfectly cooked steak, I was able to get french fries cooked in a dedicated fryer with their spicy salt mix. The meal was phenomenal
The meal before that I went for a simpler fare with Cajun wings – and they were adequate. The flavour was there and they were cooked well, it’s just the size of the wings was a tad small. But for restaurant wings they were definitely not the worst, and only slightly above average. The steak was the much better option.
Selection: There is a decent amount of GF menu options. However as I mentioned before, it is better to ask the wait staff about all of the options. For instance, the Pepper Jack Ribeye was not on the GF menu since it was brand new. And the waiter/manager was able to walk me through all of the side options to ensure that I was getting GF!
Price: It’s a chain restaurant and is on par with most of the chain restaurants. About $25 for the steak and $10 for the higher end apps. I fed my family of four for roughly $75 without adult bevvies, tip included. So not necessarily a four night a week meal destination.
Spicy Ending: When this restaurant first opened, we were underwhelmed by everything. Now that they have had time to work out some of the kinks, it has become a place worth visiting again and again – even calling it one of my favourite restaurants again!
Across Canada, there is a breakfast cafe chain that thrives on fresh, wholesome food centred around fruit. On the whole, or in slices, Chez Cora is a fantastic idea – if you like that kind of good for you, fru-fru, I mean fruit-fruit, stuff!
Personally I believe that breakfast should be a hearty meal as it was always meant to be. Eggs, toast, lots of bacon, hash browns and the fruit should be optional on your pancakes if at all! Then I was diagnosed Celiac and I had to drop the toast and most of the pancakes. Eh, steak and eggs for breakfast it is then. Or better yet, a breakfast burrito (GF of course!)
Well folks if you’re like me when it comes to breakfast, then this is not the place for you. If you care about no sugar added to your fruit smoothie, then Chez Cora is for you. Getting to the core of this restaurant, if I wasn’t looking for heartier fare and was really interested in high-quality, super healthy food at premium prices, then this place would be fantastic!
Rating: 3 out of 5 Peppers – a long wait coupled with a lacklustre portion compared to the menu and excessive prices means I am not rushing back any time soon.
Location: Stonebridge area of Saskatoon, SK
Restaurant type: Gluten Sensitive (Their warning – Despite all the care that we take in the preparation of our sensitive gluten menu dishes, we cannot guarantee the absence of cross-contamination while handling and cooking food.) On the whole, you could be glutenized here if you are not careful. I didn’t have an issue with my breakfast choices.
The picture of the French Toast in the menu filled most of the plate, not half!
Food: On the whole, the food was flavourful and looked amazing. There was one Gluten Sensitive option that called out to me – Banana French Toast. According to the menu and picture, this decadent dish featured three banana cake slices, dipped in French toast batter, filled with bananas, chocolatey-hazelnut spread and cream cheese while topped with our decadent caramel sauce. And because I love eggs I got three wrecked with cheese.
And the wait began. This was not all that absurd considering I was with the wife and kids – so a four-top and they had a pretty full restaurant. But the wait was more than I would have expected for a breakfast cafe.
Once the food arrived I immediately noted that the portion size was not as large on my plate as what appeared on the menu. The French toast was nicely caramelized and the flavour was good, but the cream cheese was hardly noticeable and the caramel sauce almost over-powered any other flavours. As for my scrambled eggs with cheese, it was more like they softly scrambled them and then threw the cheese on top because they forgot.
Selection: Their specific Gluten Sensitive section consisted of about six menu items specifically designed to be GF. That said, for the most part, we all know most raw ingredients without seasoning, IE scrambled eggs or fruit plates, should be gluten free. It really is all of what you are comfortable with and how much you want to pester the staff for answers.
Service: Despite the wait for the food, our server was attentive and I had trouble telling them not to fill up my coffee every time they came by.
Price: This was one of those places that I left feeling like I could have made the same breakfast for about half the prize and been full!
Spicy Ending: This restaurant would be decent for someone who is cautious and willing to try the Gluten Sensitive options. And if your family doesn’t have to worry about that or about the over-priced menu, then this is a great place for the family and kids.