Gold Standard sells breakfast sandwiches and Detroit-style burgers 9 a.m. - 3 p.m. out of Reunion Island from a side window on Neepawa. The project is a collaboration between the cafe and The Federal.
You can still get the sammy at The Federal for brunch, but this is the only spot where you can get their take on a classic Telway burger.
You’re welcome to order from the tight three-item $6 sandwich menu within Reunion Island, but the real atmosphere of Gold Standard revolves around a takeout window on the side of the cafe on Neepawa Avenue. There are even a few benches and a makeshift table set up out here for quick sandwich scarfing in comfort.
The Gold Standard after which the place is named starts out with an English muffin toasted on the griddle, topped with pickles, bacon or kale (or both for a small upcharge), aioli, hot sauce and fluffy eggs scrambled with cheddar.
The sandwich is the perfect mix of spicy, fatty, crunchy, salty, and velvety.
The Telway Burger is so named because it’s a direct imitation of an American style of burger that can be found legendary spots such as White Manna in New Jersey and the nominal Telway in Detroit.
Key elements are a mustard-grilled patty pressed flat festooned with a handful of thinly sliced onions.
The patty is flipped onion-side down on the grill and then stacked with two halves of a Martin’s potato roll, cheese and pickles and steamed.
Martin’s are the type of rolls used at Shake Shack and are as notoriously difficult to obtain in Canada as they are soft, spongy and melt-in-your-mouth delicious.
At the real Telway, the trick is apparently to steam the burgers under a towel, and Gold Standard will still do this sometimes if enough orders pile up.
These days they tend to prefer an easy-to-clean metal dim sum lid, which fits four burgers or fewer underneath.
The Alternative is Gold Standard’s vegan offering, apparently modelled after memories of a sandwich from Roncesvalles Village’s Alternative Grounds.
Hummus, mushrooms, sprouts, and red onion harmonize nicely with mustard and pickle flavours reminiscent of burgers, all on the same crispy English muffin as the breakfast sandwich.
For drinks, there are cute, thoughtful, and tasty options like Club Mate ($5) as well as Ottawa-based Harvey & Vern’s ginger beer and coconut water ($2.50), and even Italian apeterif Crodino ($2).
Federal owner Zach Slootsky has been collaborating with Reunion Island since day one, always using them for the restaurant’s coffee supply. Extra room at the back of the cafe called for a brainstorm, and the Gold Standard sandwich window was born.
People take a break while walking their dogs, drive up to order, or refuel while shopping at this burger stand, providing Roncesvalles with one of its most unique hangouts.