|Breaking Bread is a weekly column that explores the culinary highlights of Toronto. Features include recipes from local chefs, editorials, interviews, restaurant reviews and more.|
Everybody wants a bar where they can roll in and everybody knows their name. TALLBOYS Craft Beer House (838 Bloor St. W.) has opened up and is looking to become that spot. In that barren area of Bloor Street West between Ossington and Christie, it is filling the void residents had when trying to find great grub with delicious suds to wash them down with.
Photo: Tallboys Craft Beer House located at 838 Bloor Street West
This friends and family-run operation TALLBOYS has been in business for nearly six months now with Phil Cacace running front of house. Their mantra is simple: bring craft beer to the people. Co-owner Phil told me that although the city has an ongoing love affair with craft beers, they didn’t open TALLBOYS because it was trendy, they opened it for their love of beer. “To me, beer is fresh and natural. It’s a tradition amongst people and TALLBOYS will be part of that tradition,” TALLBOYS list of beers is quite extensive boasting 60 beers, 5 draft lines and just over a dozen craft Bombers (a glass 750ML beer).
Phil has said he has encountered the nay-sayer who has told him that wouldn’t it just be easier to stay home and drink these beers at home but you wouldn’t get the same experience. Phil mentions that nearly a dozen beers that they stock are not available in any LCBO or Beer Store.
Photo: Ontario Craft Beers
But after washing down all those beers, you’re going to get a bit hungry, so how does the food stack up at TALLBOYS? It is not your typical pub grub, that’s for sure. There is a little bit of something for everyone. For example: for those trying to stay on the lighter side of things, check out Sullie’s Salad ($9), named after co-owner Kevin’s wife. With a delicious mix of greens, roasted beets, chickpeas, granny smith apples and a light honey vinaigrette, it had all the right sweet and sour elements. For an extra kick, you can add in fried goat cheese fritters.
Next up, as a nod to the neighborhood, I tried one of the best burgers I have had in some time: the Koreatown Burger ($13). It’s just a little bit messy but let’s be honest, what good burger isn’t a little bit messy? I spoke with Head Chef Roy Mahaffy who let me know all meat was bought locally to make the double-smash burgers. On the Koreatown Burger, we had kimchi, crispy bacon, cucumber, and green onion mayo. Each flavor complimented the other and made me crave more. The fries on the other hand are huge.
Photo: Koreatown Burger
No menu offering would be complete without tacos and as such, I scarfed down the pan seared and beer battered tacos ($12/$11). The soft corn tortillas come as a trio, and are filled with lettuce, sour cream, and skewered by a chopstick. The salsa fresca is house-made and fresh. The fish was well-cooked and the dish was simple and refreshing.
Other notable mentions? Chicken Wings ($10/1LB) and Cheesecake. TALLBOYS has started up free beer sampling, comedy nights and also a monthly movie night. If this doesn’t sound like a place that could become the restaurant where everybody could and should know your name, a step above the local sports bar — then I don’t know what else you’re looking for!?!
Photo: Head Chef – Roy Mahaffy