Most restaurants in the city may be prepping for a Christmas break, but in Parkdale Small Town Food Co. (1263 Queen St. W., at Elm Grove) is gearing up for its opening early next year. Owned by Wrongbar’s Stephen McKeon and former Drake Hotel bartender Cameron Hutton, the cozy, candlelit restaurant recently had a friends-and-family preview night to sample bites cooked up by chef Tallis Voakes (previously of Paintbox Bistro in Regent Park, and Nobu, Arbutus, and Pollen Street Social in the U.K.).
“The food is a mix of French and British, with smaller sharing dishes and some bigger plates to follow,” says McKeon. “There will be game meats, and also cocktails by Cam.”
A full dinner menu is expected for the restaurant’s grand opening in early January. As of now, there are nibbles like scotch eggs, served with tangy barbecue hot sauce ($5); a loose rendition of fish and chips in which slices of panko-crusted albacore tuna are served with edamame purée, tartar sauce, and chips ($12); foie gras and plums ($13); braised pork belly with chili and miso glaze ($8); and—the thing most people will be intrigued by— little Louisiana alligator fritters dredged in a buttermilk batter ($12). Think of the latter as a combination of fish and chicken.
The restaurant and bar, which was previously Ethiopian spot M&B Yummy, is in a prime dining location just across the street from Chantecler and Porzia, and a few steps away from Grand Electric and Electric Mud. This also means competition is going to be stiffer than all the bourbons on the block when full dinner service starts in the new year. —Karon Liu