In our ongoing series The Reveal, we go behind closed doors and introduce you to the people and food of the city’s newest restaurants and undiscovered places.
This week, we enter Ossington Stop.
The Gist: Owner William Tavares (also owns Fishbar, opened Salt Wine Bar) saw a need for late-night food: “There are only so many days you can do Subway, Chinese food, and pizza.” The food had to be cost-effective too. “Good food doesn’t have to be expensive. We’ve got a great atmosphere with reasonable prices.”
Ain’t that the truth – The menu features dishes from $2.50 to $10. Nothing is more than a sawbuck. And it’s all made from scratch. Everything including the steam buns, cookies and ice cream.
While the concept was a collaboration, it was formed from Tavares’ business model of being open all day until 4am.
Grub: Chef Denis Ganshonkov was tired of working in fine dining. “I wanted to bring everything back to basics and just enjoy eating. Most things I grew up with and know how to cook from home (Almaty, Kazakhstan).” But don’t think for a second that just because the dishes are reasonable, they are puny. You’ll be full after just two or three.
A Kale Summer Salad ($7) is one of the lightest options, and Flatbreads ($3) and Mac N’ Cheese ($8) are good choices for vegetarians. If you’re a meat lover, you’ll want to get your hands on the Pulled Pork Sandwich With Slaw ($6), Sausage Pie ($8) and BBQ Side Ribs With Slaw ($10). And Khinkali Dumplings ($2.50 each) might not be the dumplings you’re used to, but that’s a good thing. Be sure to leave room for those and dessert.
p.s. In the works – Chicken Waffle Sandwich!!
Libations: This has got to be one of the cheapest, coolest places to drink in town. With 15 oz. beers for only $4 (Creemore Lager, Creemore Pilsner), Granville Island ($4.75), Hops N’ Bolts ($4.50), $5 Steam Whistle Tall Boys and Strongbow Ciders, $4.75-$7 shots (1 or 2 oz.) and wine for $5 (3.5 oz.), you can absolutely afford to eat and drink tonight.
‘Hoods: Dundas West and the Ossington Strip
Deets: The former Arrow Café is only 500 sq. ft., so the space was maximized to hold as many people as possible. Thus, the entire kitchen (think your first apartment kitchen, only smaller) and counter sit at the back, so the rest is for you and all your friends.
Fixtures & Fittings: The subway theme is thankfully subtle – red and silver trim along the front evokes passing streetcars, rubberized floors are made to look the subway platform’s edge with its raised circles. Otherwise, the look (all done by Tavares and a friend) is modern, sleek and unobtrusive. This allows the stellar fare to remain the focus.
Off the Menu: While Ganshonkov strives to keep dishes “dead simple,” the result is sophisticated fare with energetic flavours and pleasing textures. The seasoning in the Beef Taco ($3.50, also available: chicken, pulled pork) doesn’t cloak the meat like most, but enhances it. And when’s the last time your Roasted Chicken Sandwich With Slaw ($6) was moist, but not watery? Talk about a dream sandwich. But nothing can beat the stunner - Russian Steamed Bun With Pork N Cabbage ($4). Let’s hope Chef’s dream of more Russian Serbian dishes on the menu, comes true. And soon. In the meantime, you might want to get a shopping bag full of buns to tide you over.
While you can indulge in the Chocolate Chip Cookie ($3), I highly recommend trading up to the
Ice Cream Sandwich ($5). Not only do you get two exquisitely handmade cookies (it has give without being doughy, and enough heft to secure the ice cream without being harsh or crumble everywhere), but the most ideal, and expert, vanilla ice cream (not overly creamy or sweet with a distinct vanilla taste and fragrance, and a firm texture so it doesn’t run), also handmade here. It’s seriously win-win.
How Cool is This?! Ossington Stop will be one of the first restos to allow you to place your take-out order ahead of time via a PayPal App (coming soon). Being able to order while you’re stuck on the streetcar heading home? Sign us up!
And plug-and-play your own music here - just ask to join the queue and your playlist might just be the favourite of the night.
At the Stove: Chef Denis Ganshonkov (Fishbar, Tati). Also helping out, Shannon Echelin (FYI: The person doing the cooking? They also do all the dishes!)
FOH: Uh, it’s the size of a bachelor apartment. There is no front of house.
Head Honcho: Owner William Tavares
Tues & Wed 12:00pm - 12:00am
Thurs 12:00pm – 2:00am
Friday & Sat 12:00pm - 4:00am
Sunday 4:00pm - 12:00am
Map It: 1164 Dundas St. W. (at Ossington)
Phone It In: 416-537-3535
Check out our Facebook page for all the photos.