Clinton Street ups its edibility factor with Fuel House, a new restaurant, bar and order-by-text takeout joint
By Jon Sufrin
Fuel House's burger (Image: Matthew Sherwood)
With all the hubbub surrounding Little Italy’s Acadia these days, one could be forgiven for not noticing that other stuff was taking place right across the street. Without so much as a whimper, Olivia’s at Fifty Three, the cozy nook just north of Café Diplomatico, closed, and a couple of young entrepreneurs have set up Fuel House in its stead.
Owners Mike Dolegowski and Mackenzie Chiu saved up funds from their catering business, M3 Foods, to open their first restaurant. At the moment, the focus is on sandwiches and higher-end pub food, but if the two are lacking in anything, it’s not ideas for how to further use the space. Currently, they’re contemplating a meat-curing room, a second floor lounge area, full dinner service and, once the patio gets set up, weekend brunch.
As it stands, the sandwiches alone are intriguing. A pulled turkey sandwich ($7.50) is brined for 24-hours, then slow roasted before getting slathered with a house-made, coffee-infused barbecue sauce. It comes served on a bun from OMG Baked Goodness, along with slaw. And what would a place like this be without pork? Here, pork belly — Toronto’s meat du jour — appears twice: first as an appetizer (pork belly confit cubes, $5) then inside a Vietnamese-inspired sandwich ($7.50), where it’s shacked up with house-pickled veggies and cilantro.
These guys were getting attention for their food long before Fuel House opened: earlier this summer, The Globe featured one of their pork belly recipes. Here, Dolegowski rubs pork belly with salt, sugar and other spices before leaving it overnight. It’s then rinsed off, buried in lard and cooked for around five hours.
A BLT sandwich ($7.50) features a ridiculously thick slab of artisanal bacon, along with Boston bibb lettuce, tomato and roasted garlic mayo.
The house burger ($10, pictured at top) also comes with gigantic bacon, along with an eight ounce beef patty. French fries are blanched at a low temperature, then deep-fried and garnished with smoked salt.
Speaking of smoke, the two have invested in a smoker and have already started getting creative with it. When we were there earlier this week, the daily soup ($5) was made from smoked tomatoes; they even smoke vodka for one of the four Caesars ($8).
At the small bar comprised of reclaimed barn wood, Chiu pours pints of Beau’s Lug-Tread and Sapporo ($7.50), or mixes drinks with Tito’s Handmade Vodka and other liquors. He’s also manning the Fuel House’s dedicated Blackberry line, where customers can order via text (or by voice, for a taste of the old days).
Fuel House is still a work in progress, so it will be interesting to see how it shapes up.
Fuel House, 53 Clinton St., 416-846-4217