Bar Hop opened on King West, Indie Alehouse is set to open in the Junction, and Bloorcourt Village now has Tallboys Craft Beer House.">

First Look: Tallboys, a new west-end craft beer bar


Published:

This has been the summer of craft beer bars in Toronto: Bar Hop opened on King West, Indie Alehouse is set to open in the Junction, and Bloorcourt Village now has Tallboys Craft Beer House.

When Phil Cacace decided to take his 10 years of experience working at Scarborough’s Black Dog Pub and open a family-run restaurant, it was only natural for him to join with his brother Tom Cacace and their cousin Kevin Kennedy. Between them, they had the front-of-house experience and beer knowledge covered; consulting chef Craig Wong — Kennedy’s high school friend — completed the picture, and Tallboys was born.

Chef Wong (Alain Ducasse, Fat Duck, various O&B restaurants) has created an on-trend menu that includes beer-battered fish tacos (three for $14) and the comforting bison sausage rigatoni al forno ($15).

But the section of the menu Wong jumps to first when we ask him about the food is the burgers. Tallboys has its secret blend of beef ground daily at the nearby Vince Gasparro’s Meat Market, then the patties are griddle-smashed on a searing-hot flat top. The classic burger ($10) comes with fries or a garden salad, and the Koreatown burger ($13) adds salty pungency with bacon and kimchi, as well as the cool crispness of cucumbers.

The kitchen uses Canada Prime beef and free-run chicken from a neighbourhood butcher. Wong describes his policy on choosing ingredients succinctly: “Craft beer, craft food.”

The 30-seat space (they’re looking to amend their liquor license to double that capacity) was previously Zembaba, one of many Ethiopian joints in the Bloor and Shaw neighbourhood. And to tie their business to the Bloor Street strip, the new owners have decorated the walls in a TTC-inspired theme. 

With a name like Tallboys, it’s no surprise that almost all of the beer comes in cans or on draught (there are currently five Ontario beers on tap and over 30 in cans). One exception is the 750 mL “bombers” — or “dinner bottles” — which make a good substitute for a bottle of wine. These bottles consist of seasonal, unusual and one-off offerings.

With his eye on featuring casks and more one-offs in the future, Phil sums up his beer-selection philosophy by saying: “I want people to drink beer here that they can’t drink anywhere else.”

Tallboys Craft Beer House, 838 Bloor St. West, 416-535-7486

Edit Module

Join the conversation and have your say by commenting below. Our comment system uses a Facebook plugin. Please note that you'll have to turn off some ad-blockers in order to see the comments.

Edit Module

Follow us on Twitter @PostCity for more on what to eat, where to shop and what to do in Toronto.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

You may also like...

Kitchen Confidential: Sodium-filled sammie from Banh Mi Boys

Kitchen Confidential: Sodium-filled sammie from Banh Mi Boys

The calories and fat are reasonable for a filling meal, but the sodium gives you three quarters of your daily intake in one sitting! Don’t go adding any kimchi fries on the side.
Posted 18 hours ago
In Season: Mustard is more than just the top condiment at restaurants like Toronto’s Black Hoof

In Season: Mustard is more than just the top condiment at restaurants like Toronto’s Black Hoof

Canada is the world’s leading producer of mustard seeds. So this week, we’re veering west of Ontario to talk about how the yellow/honey/hot mustard plastered all over your late night hotdog (often my midday snack) probably started in the Prairies’ mustard fields.
Posted 2 days ago
Inside the world of AAA Bar, purveyor of Toronto’s most authentic Texas-style barbecue

Inside the world of AAA Bar, purveyor of Toronto’s most authentic Texas-style barbecue

Inside a corrugated tin lean-to near the corner of Gerrard and Broadview, you’ll find one of the most intense barbecue setups in the city. There, four Traeger grills operate nearly non-stop, slowly inundating beef, pork and chicken with oak smoke. Brisket and ribs emerge sheathed in crispy, candy-sweet bark, tinged deep pink beneath the surface.
Posted 3 days ago
Joanne Kates reboots her top 100 restaurants list for 2016

Joanne Kates reboots her top 100 restaurants list for 2016

We saw this coming — tasty Toronto restos have been going relentlessly downscale for several years. The vast majority of this year’s terrific new restaurants are casual and cheap. They can’t be judged against white tablecloth temples of gastronomy
Posted 3 days ago
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleEdit Module