Justin Tisdall has succumbed to Chambar Effect, that odd force that regularly turns former employees of the perennial Beatty Street favourite (and Scout 25 regular) into restaurateurs — and usually very successful ones.
He and Hawksworth sous chef Bryan Satterford have pooled their resources with the support of Meat & Bread co-owner Cord Jarvie to secure the brand new, concrete and glass ground floor spot at 182 Keefer Street. The 1,530 sqft location occupies the northwest corner of the new Westbank Building in Chinatown, which – as these photos plainly indicate – is still very much under construction.
With it, they’re planning for a 48 seat, fully licensed fried chicken and rib eatery called Juke. 1/3 of the space will be dedicated to takeaway service (via a window), while the other 2/3 will operate as a full service restaurant. The window will be open all day until close, while the restaurant will be dinner only to start, with Saturday and Sunday brunches. Mmm, fried chicken and waffles!
The menu will feature mainstay sides and proteins, plus four specials rotating in and out, as well as a series of larger plates, like lamb shoulder, whole fish, et cetera. In addition to Jukes’ signature fried chicken and slow-cooked beef ribs, I’m told we can also expect a special fried chicken sandwich of some sort – currently the Hansel of takeaway items (so hot right now).
As a concept, it’s about as sure a thing as can be — nice and simple. It’s also a happenstance nod to local history, as the legendary Vie’s Fried Chicken & Steaks used to be located just down the street back in the Hogan’s Alley days (the mother of one of Tisdall’s old friends worked there for 30 years). Glasfurd & Walker are doing the branding (see also Meat & Bread, Bao Bei), so it’ll have optimum aesthetic appeal, and they’re going for a lively, casual, fun, juke joint sort of vibe where hands are supposed to get dirty. They get the keys around Christmas, and hope to have it open at some point in April, 2016.