First Look: White Squirrel Snack Shop, a new food-focused location of a popular café
By Caroline Aksich
Grilled portobello banh mi, $5 (Images: Caroline Aksich)
A second outpost of the beloved White Squirrel Coffee Shop has opened a few blocks east of its progenitor on Queen. This newest incarnation of the Trinity Bellwoods stalwart, though, is more about food than java. At White Squirrel Snack Shop you can still grab a latte ($3.75) to go — that is, if you can resist the menu of pan-global nosh.
The long, narrow space (previously occupied by Peach Berserk) features white marble counter tops up-cycled from stone that was salvaged from a Bank of Montreal building. The tables also feature reclaimed material; they’re made from the hardwood floorboards that were ripped up during the installation of the Snack Shop’s kitchen and bathrooms. A wall-sized map of Toronto (circa 1910) counteracts the near-austere minimalism.
Owner David Ginsberg has designed a menu that reflects his favourite treats, and the result couldn’t be more Torontonian. In collaboration with chef Chelsea White (The County General), Ginsberg has come up with Canadian interpretations of Vietnamese, Mexican, Korean, Cuban, Greek, Cajun and Iraqi dishes that will sate everyone from those seeking pre-work breakfast to lost stoners who have wandered away from Kensington market.
There are three breakfast sandwiches to choose from: a banh mi (with eggs, paté, cilantro, Sriracha and pickled carrot and daikon, $5), a sabich (an Iraqi breakfast pita made with boiled eggs, roasted eggplant, cucumber salad and umbah, which is a pickled mango sauce, $6) and a breakfast roll (scrambled eggs, bacon, cheddar, lettuce, tomato, Dijon, $6).
Most lunch options come in two versions: snack-sized ($6) or full-sized ($10), so you can get a nibble to tie you over or a full-on lunch that is literally 40 per cent bigger than the snack size. The list of snackables includes a weekly po’ boy (this week’s is fried shrimp), a cubano sandwich, a tzatziki-dressed souvlaki pita, kimchi fried brown rice (with oyster mushrooms, tofu and steamed greens), and chili-maple-lime wings.
White Squirrel Snack Shop, 507 Queen St. W., 647-609-4478