Hurricanes Roadhouse – 30 years and counting
These days restaurants open and close in a flash. So to find one that has stood the test of time is cause for celebration.
Hurricanes Roadhouse opened back in 1985 - the year that New Coke was released, Michael Jordan was named the NBA's "Rookie of the Year” and Microsoft released the first version of Windows, Windows 1.0.
The first sports bar in the Ossington/Bloordale neighbourhood was also one of the first spots along the strip to put chicken wings on the menu.
Famed Canadian middleweight boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter lived around the corner and was a regular at lunchtime, according to current owner Ross Serpa. The pugilist may have even been the inspiration behind the name.
Serpa worked behind the bar for a decade before buying the place back in 2003. The roadhouse has kept some of the original décor -the "star wall" of celebrity photos for instance –but has had upgrades throughout the years.
One thing that hasn’t changed – the sports memorabilia lining the walls, including an original boxing robe of Carter’s, his photo and signature on the back wall, and a hockey stick signed by Maple Leaf legends. Another fun feature – the Stubby beer wall collection of roughly 200 vintage and very rare bottles that’s been here since the bar first opened.
The sports-focused pub shows, "anything broadcast that’s sports related," Serpa says. In addition to Leafs and Raptors games, local sports, soccer matches, and UFC fights make their way onto the 15 big screens throughout the wood-paneled space. You can also put in a request for your tournament of choice to be shown. There's also a cozy patio out back.
Known for their homemade burgers, poutines made with vegetarian gravy, and award-winning wings, Chef Dave Hylton changes up the menu every spring and fall.
In addition to the usual pub standards, there are soups, salads, all day breakfast, a veggie burger, and fish tacos - available with grilled flour or corn tortillas. The Hurricanes Carter Rueben ($16), an ode to the renowned boxer, is made with corned beef, topped with melted swiss, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing, served on toasted rye or wrap.
Hurricanes is one of the few places in the area to offer a brunch menu on weekends, featuring items including a Belgian Waffle and Hangover Poutine on the menu.
All smoked meats are made in house, and chicken and fish are battered and cooked to order. Longtime server Denise says, “Everything is fresh and delicious.”
Daily specials include the almost never seen anymore 2-for-1 wings offered all day every Monday and Tuesday, Karaoke Wednesdays with $5 Poutines and $5 pints of Beau's, and on Fridays - fish ‘n’ chips made with fresh haddock and pint of Keiths for $17 (+ tax).
Hurricanes is place that you can count on being relaxed and comfortable. "Everyone knows everyone," Denise says. "It’s like (TV show) Cheers. We have a small crew of staff. If I don’t know you, I will by the end of the night."
Hurricanes Roadhouse, open from 11am to 2am daily, offers dine-in, take out, online ordering and delivery.
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