A Look Inside Chinatown’s Almost Finished Mamie Taylor’s, Five Years Ago This Week

Mamie Taylor’s owner Ron Oliver carefully positions a trophy buck near the imminent restaurant’s entrance in the summer of 2013. | Photo: Scout Magazine

For today’s Throwback Thursday feature we loop back to exactly five years ago when we poked our heads inside Mamie Taylor’s in Chinatown, just a few days before its opening. If I recall correctly (the photos attest as much), this was the day that most of the taxidermy went up on the walls.

The popular restaurant has focused on refined American comfort food from the start (think fried chicken, burgers, ham grenades, etc.) but is equally anchored by its classic cocktail capabilities. Here’s what I what about it back then, as well as a gallery of 50 images from the day:

Local bartenders turned restaurateurs Simon Kaulback (long at Boneta) and Ron Oliver (long at The Diamond) are almost ready to reveal their much anticipated Chinatown eatery and watering hole, Mamie Taylor’s. Today (Tuesday) is D-day for them, as they hope to get their occupancy and liquor permits before the sun sets. Once those ducks are lined up, they’ll be fully into launch mode.

I took a look yesterday while chef Tobias Grignon was readying his open kitchen and the front of house was being hung with all manner of well worn taxidermy. Among the many animals adorning the walls of the 100 seater at 251 East Georgia (across from Phnom Penh) are several bucks, a bobcat (I think), two bears, a wild boar, a raven, and a ring-necked pheasant. I particularly liked the smirking mink that crowns the beer taps. The dead animal motif might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I grew up with the stuff so makes me kind of homesick (my pop was an avid hunter who decorated his farm with such things). The wild kingdom theme continues in the washrooms with painstakingly-applied single target sheets employed as wallpaper, and on the dishes themselves. Sourced from thrift stores and garage sales, each one is different. Picking up a beaten up charger depicting a colourful turkey in a rural scene, Simon jokes, “Yup, we’ve spent the majority of our meagre resources on decorative plates.” Well, it’s probably cheaper than Puddifoot.

As you can see from the shots above and below, they still have a little bit of work to do, but it’s pretty much all cosmetic from here on in. They hope to have a couple of friends and family nights later this week and there’s a very good chance that they’ll open for real this weekend. When they do, we can expect top drawer cocktails (a given with these guys) and American gastropub fare. I’ve seen their dance card, and drooled over the prospect of a veal tongue Monte Cristo; meatballs with dates and bacon; fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits and watermelon; whole roasted trout with charred broccoli and Louisiana buerre blanc; and so on. I don’t want to give the whole thing away, but it’s a genuine original with prices ranging from $4 to $20 per dish. I can’t wait to give it a whirl.

Of course, Kaulback and Grignon have long since moved on from Mamie Taylor’s, but that hasn’t been to the material detriment of the operation, which continues to enjoy busy services with Oliver omnipresent at the bar and Chef Jeff Coop running the kitchen. Enjoy the trip down memory lane…

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