First Look: The Whippoorwill, Bloordale’s new destination for brunch, booze and burgers
In a blink-and-you’d-miss-it do-over, Shawn Creamer and Tyler Cunningham up and changed The Bloordale Pantry into The Whippoorwill Restaurant and Tavern earlier this month. As a big fan of the Pantry’s brunch, Creamer’s business sense (he also owns The Dakota Tavern) told him that the place had far more potential.
“I was always eyeing it,” he says, “and thought it would be a great spot for a bar.”
When the previous owners put the business up for sale, Creamer snatched it up and quickly made his mark. The bones of the space were already there — cherry-red booths; a checkerboard floor — but the duo took out some homey touches and added some retro flair. In the back, a commissioned painting depicts the space’s previous days as The Dale, a one-time ’hood landmark, while a vintage wheel-alignment unit from an old gas station makes up the back bar. A proper sign — as opposed to just the sandwich board sitting outside — is still to come.
Cunningham, previously of Mildred’s Temple Kitchen, is in charge of the menu. For now, brunch is the priority, with options including sunny-side up eggs ($12) strewn with hunks of house-made Spanish chorizo and crispy bread. A classic diner breakfast ($9) features two eggs any style along with crispy potatoes and a choice of maple bacon, ‘nduja-braised beans or scrapple, which is “a white-trashy head cheese” combined with cornmeal, Cunningham says.
Starting next week, The Whippoorwill plans to extend beyond brunch. “We’re gonna have lots of fun for dinner,” Cunningham says. Picks are likely to include oysters, seared albacore tuna, vegetable salads and heartier fare such as braised lamb shoulder, with nothing costing over $20. A burger will also make the cut (it’s currently available on the brunch menu for $12, starring ground Canada Prime beef, melted cheddar and Russian dressing, along with the usual fixings).
Meanwhile, Charlie Lamont — who Creamer proudly poached from Barchef — will be holding down the bar, pouring classic cocktails and riffs on them. Molecular, it was noted, is not a word that will be used to describe any beverage.
“We just wanna have a big party,” Creamer says.
The Whippoorwill Restaurant and Tavern, 1285 Bloor St. W., 416-530-2999