Coming soon to Dundas West: The Happy Hooker, a fish sandwich shop from the man behind Tavolino
By Ray Lontoc
Chef Attilio Pugliese is no stranger to the restaurant business, having previously worked at Queen Margherita Pizza and later opening King West’s erstwhile Tavolino. But while Tavolino received great reviews, by Pugliese’s own admission, “It was a bit overpriced.” For his new venture, The Happy Hooker, Pugliese plans to serve fish sandwiches and fish tacos at affordable prices, which means nothing over $10, taxes in.
The Happy Hooker, located near Dundas and Palmerston, will source its fish sustainably as much as possible (from shops in Kensington Market and from the Osler Fish Terminal), while its produce will hail from the Ontario Food Terminal. The cuisine will be mainly fish sandwiches and tacos, although Pugliese stresses the tacos will not be exclusively Mexican.
“There will be one or two Mexican-inspired tacos, but the rest could be Asian, Mediterranean, etc.,” he says. “I’m just looking for really great flavours.”
Currently, the planned menu includes a double-patty marlin burger, prepared on a flat top, with spices, fresh greens, tomato and a dressing that is currently a work in progress (it may end up as a watercress aïoli). A spicy tuna taco is also planned, consisting of seared or raw tuna with fried seaweed crisps, spicy Sriracha mayonnaise and a house-made corn tortilla shell. Pugliese will also have some vegetarian options, including a tofu taco.
The decor was picked by Pugliese himself, and it strives towards the comfortable and casual. Most of it is vintage or custom made, including the polished concrete countertops, the vintage shop stools and the 150-year-old jail door that leads to the bathrooms (dubbed “the outhouse.”) Three-quarters of the restaurant is decorated in barn wood, while the checkered grey-and-black floors are original.
While an exact opening date is still to be determined, The Happy Hooker is expected to be open by Valentine’s Day.
The Happy Hooker, 887 Dundas St. W., 647-769-4243