This End Up joins Dundas West’s new restaurant craze
By Meri Perra
Smoked pork belly bahn mi (All images by Merri Perra)
Food lovers in Little Portugal are a lucky lot these days, with a cluster of new spots having recently opened a stone’s throw from each other near Dundas and Gladstone. The latest, This End Up, joins neighbours Midfield Wine Bar and The Federal on the strip.
Housed in the old Kilo Buffet Restaurant space, This End Up opened last week as a venture between life partners Karen Young and Adam Urquhart, who both recently left careers in the film industry to open their first restaurant.
“We spent about a dozen years in film, and always, every waking moment, every weekend, we’d be obsessing about food,” Young says. “We realized that was our passion. We knew we would, at an older age, own something. So this is now. It happened.”
Quietly, that is. The restaurant is currently in a soft opening stage, but it wasn’t so quiet when we were there at noon — a steady stream of patrons made its way through the doors.
Young says the menu will expand, and hopes to always offer at least one chicken, beef, pork, grilled cheese, vegan and vegetarian sandwich on the menu, as well as a burger. Those options will remain constant, but This End Up will provide continually different takes on those sandwiches.
Suppliers include Beer Barons and the The Butcher Shoppe, while Urquhart shops at the Ontario Food Terminal daily.
The fare offered so far is intriguing. The Buffalo meets Seoul chicken wings ($10), for example, are already a popular item.
“We wanted to do a chicken wing that was sort of unique,” Young says. “We love Buffalo wings, but we love the Korean sauces, and we wanted to marry the two.”
Also noteworthy is the pork belly bahn mi ($12), smoked in-house, which comes with salad (a concoction of arugula, shaved cucumber, white balsamic and lightly pickled onions) or fries as a side.
The house-made sodas ($3) come in a variety of flavours, such as salted caramel, “tastes like pink” and pineapple sage soda. We tried the latter, and there was no going back. The soda had the right amount of sweetness with just a hint of sage essence.
Taking advantage of the retro restaurant signage left over from previous occupants, Young and Urquhart decorated the space on their own, scouring vintage sources and creating a balance of old and new in their space.
They commissioned local graffiti artist Adrian “Sawtay” Hayles from Toronto Graffiti for a “This End Up” mural, while photography is diplayed for sale on the walls.
“We’ve always had our aesthetic,” Young says. “We always envisioned a restaurant this size. And over the years, we’ve been collecting ideas on the way.”
This End Up, 1454 Dundas St. W., 647-347-8700