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“Steel Toad” Brewpub Set To Open In Olympic Village Later This Month

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There’s a lot of potential for eating and drinking around Olympic Village. I say “potential” because despite a willing and eager resident market of hungry and thirsty would-be participants, the emerging neighbourhood has yet to be properly served. The two behemoth eateries that dominate the area – namely Tap & Barrel and Craft Beer Market – don’t interest me in the slightest. They’re fine for game nights with chicken wings and such, but the deficit they run in personality is hard to build a community around, and that’s exactly the job new restaurants need to do hereabouts. So there’s room enough for newcomers.

First up: Steel Toad, a new brewpub opening later this month. Located in the old 1918 steel foundry at 97 East 2nd Avenue between Ontario & Quebec, it’s almost as big as the others, boasting 175 liquor primary seats on the main floor, 40 seats on the patio, and an 80 seat dining room on the lofty mezzanine. Though it will share a beery focus not unlike its larger neighbours, Steel Toad comes complete with its own resident brewmaster, Chris Charron, who will be crafting seven (maybe eight) different beers on site (think Golden Ales, English Bitters, Stouts, Saisons, et cetera) to augment a beer list put together by accredited cicerone Jessica Sharpe (formerly of Barvolo in Toronto).

As far as environment is concerned, the place feels just as vast as its neighbours, but instead of a battery of television screens turning evenings into blue light fiestas of Sportsnet zombieness, I’m told that Steel Toad will drop down a single 19′ screen on game nights only, preferring instead to focus on live entertainment. Remember that?

But most importantly, I fully expect the food to be significantly better than what we’ve seen so far from the big chains nearby. The chef is the young (37) and talented Robbie Robinson, who comes to the project – his big executive break – after years spent toiling at The Smoking Dog, The Vancouver Club, the Wedgewood, Le Crocodile, Claridges in London, and West (during the tenure of David Hawksworth). The menu reads well enough – a mix of pizzas, modified pub classics, and off-grid unusual suspects (eg. foie carpaccio, pork neck hoagie) – but it’s the execution that counts. Robinson says he’s ready to go, and I believe him. I just hope he has a good, reliable crew of cooks to back him up, because this place is going to be busy from day 1.

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ALL ANTICIPATED OPENINGS

There are 4 comments

  1. Agreed! Craft and Tap & Barrel stink! This place looks like another Craft. Let’s hope they can do better.

  2. I understand that it’s owned by a group of private investors with an interest in food and beer. It is a real brewery and not just a pub. The beer list is put together by accredited cicerone and Robbie Robinson is the executive chef. So beer and food should be good.

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