School Restaurant, famous for their breakfasts and brunch, has just added dinner to their curriculum.
Open now for eight years in Liberty Village, General Manager Chris Hewlett and head chef Jeff Richards "want to do more," Hewlett says. "We’ve missed dinners. We’re really excited."
With fireplaces displayed across two big screen TVs, a cozy front dining room complete with open kitchen, and larger space in back, the space suits suppertime dining. During the day, tables are very informal with just an apple set on the table. Come dinnertime, the fruit is removed and replaced with candles and wine glasses, elevating the mood without any snoot. Hewlett calls it "Casual and comfortable. Not pretentious at all." Decorative vintage plates also add a homey feel to the meal.
The menu is extremely well priced –$8 to $25 – and features North American Italian influenced dishes, though "we are not looking to be an Italian restaurant," Hewlett says. After all, there’s an 8oz. Baseball Sirloin ($25) Fried Chicken ($23), and Bacon Cheddar Burger ($19) tucked in there amongst Italian classics such as Bruschetta ($10), Ricotta Gnudi ($17) with braised mushroom ragout and Risotto ($18) - though it gets a modern update by way of quinoa instead of rice.
There are other healthy, on-trend options to help make your new year's resolutions stick: bowls (Butternut Squash & Kale $16, Roasted Cauliflower $16.50) and Kale Caesar ($16) with avocado and cashew dressing.
Richards says a lot of thought went into the menu and is "trying to make really great food that people come back for."
Richards, previously of Terroni, THR& Co. and FLOCK, says, "I want to blow people away but have reasonable prices."
Richards and his team add little twists to many dishes, including: Sweet + Spicy Calamari ($14) with lemon aioli and sweet & spicy chili sauce, and Bruschetta ($10) boasting unconventional yet enticing thick dollops of balsamic aioli.
The mile high Kale Caesar ($16) is also not your typical salad, but divine nonetheless. - Baby kale leaves get a crunchy boost from crispy leeks, fried capers and thick polenta croutons, finished with a creamy avocado & cashew dressing
Fried Chicken ($23) gets the Southern treatment - Boneless chicken breast is covered in a light, crispy, crunchy coating, served a top smooth mash, with cheddar chive biscuit, preserves and red eye gravy.
It’s not often you see the word "baseball” on a menu outside of a sports bar, but you’ll be glad it made it onto this one. An eight-ounce upper part of top sirloin steak ($25) is cooked to “deep pink inside” and served with whipped potato, seasonal veg, and just. Comfort food squared.
Be sure to save room for the Brownie ($8) by BabycakesTO baker Alessia Peluso. Blanketed under dulce de leche, chantilly, stewed cherries and candied peanuts, it’s worth whatever the calorie count.
School may get lineups for brunch, but it won’t be long before people crowd the doors after dark.
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School Restaurant is open for dinner Tues-Sat 5:30-10pm. You can also visit for lunch weekdays 10am-3pm and brunch on weekends 9:30am-3pm.