Matt Basile’s pop-up sandwich shop kicks into high gear this summer, with events scheduled for the Blue Jays opener, the ROM, and McEwan’s supermarket.
It’s going to be one busy summer for Fidel Gastro’s sandwich pop-up creator Matt Basile, who’ll be kicking off a packed schedule of events that includes grilling up his Cuban sandwiches at the Steam Whistle Brewery, the ROM and even at a showdown with his old boss Mark McEwan.
On Monday, Basile will be appearing at the Steam Whistle Brewery (255 Bremner Blvd at Simcoe) from noon to 6 p.m., offering $5 sandwiches (including a new one consisting of barbecue ribs and guacamole) and $4 bottles to those attending the Blue Jays’ home opener (or anyone in the area). Have fun trying to sneak those sandwiches into the Rogers Centre.
The brewery will be hosting more pop-ups throughout the summer to coincide with games, and the menu will cleverly tie into the Jays’ opponents (for example, a match against the Phillies means cheese steaks!).
Basile has also spearheaded a series of pop-ups on Friday nights at the ROM from the middle of April to the end of June. Also in June, to coincide with the third anniversary of chef Mark McEwan’s supermarket McEwan (38 Karl Fraser Rd. at Lawrence), a sandwich throwdown will be held at the store.
“I used actually to work for him,” he says. “When he opened up at Shops and Don Mills, I worked in his meat department, and we kept in touch after I left. We met at a Top Chef Canada launch party and he challenged me to a sandwich pop-up. We’ll take the Rocky versus Apollo Creed approach, the newbie versus the champ.”
Other events include temporary sports bars at the 99 Mrkt (99 Sudbury St. at Queen W.) to screen UFC matches and the Summer Olympics, as well a monthly sandwich crawl in Kensington Market with the Culinary Adventure Company starting in May. Hard to believe it’s been five months since Basile hosted his first pop-up with no real restaurant experience.
“It’s amazing now that I don’t have as much of a hard time convincing people about what I do now. People are willing to give pop-ups and food trucks a chance,” he says. “I can just tell that from my first pop-up to today, a lot good things have happened for street food in Toronto.”