When Gus Paschlis took over seven years ago, he wanted to make his mark by offering some unique items along with the standard fare of hot dogs, Polish sausages and burgers.
That evolved into a penchant for frying things that aren’t normally fried. Over the years, he’s served country-fried bacon, country-fried gyro meat and fried pickle chips.
His latest creation: a patty of fried gravy to top your hamburger.
“We fry everything, so it was the next logical step,” said Paschlis from behind the counter of his Dempster Street restaurant.
He won’t divulge how he does it (“It’s proprietary,”) but will say that the chicken gravy is coated in seasoned flour before hitting the fryer. The result is a patty of crunchy coating on the outside, gooey gravy on the inside.
The inspiration for the fried gravy came from his desire to make a burger that mimicked the flavors of poutine, a French Canadian dish of French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy.
His “faux poutine” burger is topped with garlic aioli, cheddar cheese, fries and, of course, the gravy patty.
Customers are intrigued
Paschlis says he’s been selling about 10 a week since he started offering the burger two weeks ago.
Wil Gillespie, who came into Wiener and Still Champion for a hot dog this week despite being a “borderline vegetarian,” said the new concoction “sounds interesting,” thought he’s cautious about eating foods that are too greasy.
Veronica Jackson was waiting to pick up a Polish sausage and said she wasn’t surprised by the idea of frying gravy.
“I’ve done it,” she said, explaining that she’ll pan fry liver and onions with gravy, a little flour and oil. “It sounds good,” she said of the burger
Tinkering until it’s perfect
Paschlis said he started playing around with frying gravy about a year ago and put it on the restaurant’s “secret menu” for a while. The secret menu is where he tries out new dishes that are too time-consuming to offer to the masses or that he’s looking for feedback on. (Look for fried chili coming off that secret menu soon.)
He wasn’t pleased with the flavor of the original attempt and started tinkering with his recipe again a couple months ago until he felt he had it right.
Now, he said, “it’s one of the best burgers out there.”
“The flavors complement each other very well,” he said. And there’s, “the crunchiness of the gravy coating and the ooziness of the gravy.”
The full faux poutine burger is $9 or you can just get the fried gravy as a burger topping for $1.50. Wiener and Still Champion is at 802 Dempster St.
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