Living in Ontario you’re guaranteed to have an opinion on the one item on Swiss Chalet Restaurant’s menu, the (in)famous Swiss Chalet Sauce. However, it’s more contentious than most people think.
The brown semi-thick liquid that’s often paired with Swiss Chalet’s signature roast chicken has Canadians divided. Some either really love it or absolutely hate it. There is rarely an opinion that’s in between.
Swiss Chalet opened its first location in 1954 on Bloor Street West in Toronto. Since then, the chain has opened hundreds of restaurants across Canada.
The company describes the sauce as “a delicious sauce that is seasoned, spicy and sweet all in one.” However, no one really knows what the sauce is made from since Swiss Chalet bills it as “a treasured secret recipe.”
Full disclosure, the writer of this article is very pro-Swiss Chalet Sauce, even to the point of drinking the sauce and dipping the roll.
Meanwhile, my colleague Renee Suen, proclaims the sauce “abominable” and has said, on record, that it “tasted like expired Christmas spices.”
I asked our readers what they thought of the sauce that has divided the nation.
We want to know, what are your thoughts on Swiss Chalet Sauce.
Yay or nay?#Toronto #SwissChalet
— blogTO (@blogTO) April 3, 2023
Many agreed that Swiss Chalet Sauce is the glue that holds Canada together.
Swiss Chalet sauce is the glue that holds Canada together, so definitely a YAY from me!
— vClouder (@vClouder) April 3, 2023
Even going to the length of claiming it’s one of God’s greatest creations.
One of god’s greatest creations. 🙏🏽
— Peter Kash (@PeterKash) April 3, 2023
And if you’re like me, drinking the sauce is a Canadian tradition.
As a food: Yay
As a beverage: Yay
— Smile, and Nod Politely (@johndotbastable) April 3, 2023
Although some agree that drinking the sauce might not be doctor approved.
Yay for me. I’d drink it but I don’t think my doctor would approve.
— SteveO (@vectorxy) April 3, 2023
However, I did say this was dividing the country and some really don’t like the sauce.
Hard no! I only order Swiss chalet when they have the festive special because I love cranberry sauce. So every year I go and get the white meat quarter chicken festive special but I ask for extra cranberry sauce in lieu of that disgusting salt-laden gravy.
— Amelia Thornton (@Flirtphoto) April 3, 2023
Someone even says it tastes like “failed dreams and sadness”. I am currently fact-checking if this is Renee‘s ghost account.
Swiss Chalet sauce tastes like burnt cloves, failed dreams and sadness. The nightmare they try to pass off as chicken is a bare half step up.
— Guy Fieri’s Special Sauce (@TheDeron) April 3, 2023
It is, in fact, Deron Engbers, aka the chef de cuisine of Gare de l’Est, and a firm anti-Chalet Sauce ally.
Since the sauce clearly has divided Canada, Renee and I visited a local Swiss Chalet to give the sauce a real no-holds-barred review.
Based on the polling on Twitter, the majority of our followers that responded love Swiss Chalet’s sauce.
I’m ordering extra buns, spreading some butter on them and dipping away. Love chalet sauce 😋
— Jere Smoke (@jeremysmoke) April 3, 2023
I also asked our Instagram followers what their thoughts were on the contentious menu item.
Ed Ho, the restauranteur behind the Danforth’s now shuttered Globe Bistro, is a fan. While he confessed to not enjoying the sauce in his youth, he’s become a convert after the ripe age of 40.
“Yes it’s delicious or perhaps just addictive and I’ve got addicted to it,” Ho comments on the blogTO post. “Between the teeth loosening chicken seasoning and the cornstarchy goodness of that sauce it’s an experience unlike any other.”
Joseph Reis commented on Instagram as a former employee and said they made the sauce like tea.
Some also challenged blogTO to go to Quebec and try St. Hubert’s famous sauce.
“St. Hubert’s sauce is better! That should be the challenge. But if you like Chalet sauce, you need to add some hot sauce to it.” says Instagram user rlnoy.
Despite the divisive opinions, take my advice and next time you’re at Swiss Chalet: Order an extra dip (maybe even upgrade to a 32 ounce size for $4.49). It goes really well with pretty much everything on your plate.