Walking into the Parkdale entrance of Small Town Food Co., it’s the welcoming camaraderie that greets patrons. Sitting at one of the 30 candle-lit tables or at the long wood bar under industrial-styled lights, diners may notice the spareness of the modern décor, but will soon be focused on choosing from a menu taking inspiration from seasonal ingredients and global flavours.
Owners Steve McKeon and Cameron Hutton wanted to recreate the feeling of small town hospitality, and after five years at Wrongbar (McKeon) and seven years at The Drake Hotel (Hutton), the big city’s village of Parkdale made perfect sense for the location of their first restaurant. Along with notable neighbours Grand Electric (Colin Tooke) and Food & Liquor (Nigel French), McKeon and Hutton all hail from the wee town of Erin, ON, and were keen to pay homage to their roots with a dash of a big city style.
With Chef Tallis Voakes, whose past stints include notable UK establishments such as Nobu, Arbutus and Pollen Street Social and most recently, as executive chef of Regent Park’s Paintbox, Small Town Food Co.’s focus on creating a welcoming joint extends to having an open kitchen, but also encouraging diners to be adventurous.
Small plates offer mix influences (but don’t call it fusion) include beef and foie gras pot stickers ($14), tartar of deer with quail yolk ($17) and 24hr braised pork belly with chili and a miso glaze ($8).
There’s also a nod to Brit bar food with the Scotch egg ($7) (this will become your new fave bar snack) and fish & chips a la Voakes: panko crusted albacore tuna with edamame puree and tartar sauce ($17). Add in a bit of veg to please your Mum, like crispy cauliflower with truffle and aioli ($6).
Libations feature infused spirits, unique bitters and small town inferences like The John Deere (Espolon Blanco, St Germain, chartreuse, lime, basil, simple syrup, arctic rose, Hellfire bitters, $14), Checkered Past ( Ketel One vodka, Domaine de Canton ginger, basil, lemon, rosemary pineapple puree, $12) and the tasty Small Town Sour (Cinnamon and clove infused bourbon, fresh lemon juice, sugar, egg white, $11). The house list of vintages was selected by sommelier Anton Potvin and currently on tap, Okanagan Spring Winter Ale, Blanche de Chambly and Sapporo.
With a playlist that doesn’t drown out conversation, Small Town Food Co. could become your new hangout, especially for those living in the village of West Queen West. Don’t let the restaurant’s photo mural of a schoolyard brawl make any impact – this joint is a friendly place for after work, especially for foodies wanting to treat their palates to sophisticated snacking.
Small Town Food Company
1263 Queen Street East
Hours: Sunday-Wednesday 6pm-11pm, Thursday-Saturday 6pm-2am