First Look: Mister Frenchy gives the Danforth a taste of Lyonnaise street food


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Image: Chris Suppa

What do you get when you mix the rich ingredients of traditional French cuisine with street food? Voila: you get Mister Frenchy.

Founders Youcef Boudouh and Mohamed Bordo are the first to bring a particular brand of French street food — born in big-city suburbs, especially those around Lyon, mostly from North African immigrants — to Toronto.


(IMAGE: CHRIS SUPPA)

 

“It’s the opposite of what we call high-end French cuisine, it’s quicker to prepare,” Boudouh says.

The main attraction is the “French taco,” which is more like a pressed burrito in size and shape. Mister Frenchy also offers roulés - French wraps - as well as more quintessentially French fare like the croque monsieur, Nicoise salad and desserts such as crème brûlée.

Boudouh had wanted to open such an establishment since moving to Toronto in 2010. “I would go back home and eat at least three [French tacos], once or twice a week,” he says.


(IMAGE: CHRIS SUPPA)

 

He met Bordo 3 years ago through a French networking event and discovered that he had the same idea. They began concocting the recipes back in France as well as laying the foundation for the business.

After initially looking for a space closer to the downtown core, Boudouh and Bordo opted to make their home on the Danforth, converting a former hair salon into the 20-seat restaurant. Boudouh runs the overall operations and communications, and Bordo manages the restaurant itself.


Le Lyonnais: ground beef, Algerian sauce, tomatoes, onions, sweet peppers, French fries and French cheese sauce (IMAGE: CHRIS SUPPA)

 

Both reached out to their French fraternité in an effort to keep things as authentic as possible. Head chef Karim Ounnar created the menu, and Boudouh’s childhood friend designed the logo and interior space; just like the menu, it’s a hybrid of iconic images of Paris and Lyon with an underground, graffiti-accented feel. The interior bricks pay homage to Bordo’s Northern French heritage.

“Almost everything was made in France to keep that French spirit and atmosphere,” Bordo says.


Imported dipping sauces: samourai, Andalousian, Algerian and curry (IMAGE: CHRIS SUPPA)

 

That extends right down to Mister Frenchy’s signature sauces; they’re either made fresh or imported from France. Imported sodas from French brands like Schweppes and Volvic are on the horizon as well.

“We want people to walk into the restaurant and feel like, ‘Hey, we haven’t seen that before,’” Boudouh says.

A warning: if you’re looking for poutine, Mister Frenchy is not where you’ll find it.

According to Boudouh, “we say it’s blasphemy to put gravy on fries.”

Mister Frenchy, 675 Danforth Ave, (647) 340-0790, Mon. to Thu., Sun. from 11 a.m. - 11 p.m., Fri. to Sat. from 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.


(IMAGE: CHRIS SUPPA)

 

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Chris Suppa is a freelance writer and photographer based in Toronto. Follow him at @Suppa55 for somewhat-coherent ramblings about the Blue Jays and on Instagram at @chrissuppaphotography.

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