Introducing: The Thirsty Duck, Leslieville’s new pub from the owners of Eastside Social
Name: The Thirsty Duck
Contact: 972 Queen St. E., 416-463-2303
Previously: Celline Garden
Owners: Joey Skeir and Cherie Stinson (Eastside Social)
Chef: Chris Mentier
The Food: Pub food with east-coast flair, including deep-fried pepperoni (currently on hold because its popularity has Stinson scrambling to find a local meat supplier), fish and chips (Skeir grew up working in his dad’s Halifax fish-and-chip shop) and, of course, donairs. “I tell you, we nailed it,” says Skeir of the late-night Scotian staple made with shaved beef and an addictive sweet sauce. “A lot of people who’ve gone to King’s College or Dalhousie are starting to come here. It tastes like memories.”
The Drinks: Beer is the primary potable. Right now, Steigl, Guinness, Labatt 50, Beau’s Lug Tread and Goose Island Honkers Ale are some of the 10 brews on tap, but there’s also a small selection of east-coast bottles (Alpine, Keiths, Moosehead).
The Space: Stinson was responsible for turning the 30-year-old Chinese restaurant into a cozy east-coast pub. The bones are the same, but plush benches and booths and exposed brick have replaced vinyl seats and stark white walls. The Green Room in the back of the restaurant is for larger groups, trivia nights or guests who want a bit more privacy. TVs are tuned to sports channels. Also, there’s a duck theme (obviously).
Shrimp on toast: shrimp sautéed with garlic, chilies, white wine and butter, and served on homemade crusty bread. $13.50.
A Halifax-style donair: thinly sliced meatloaf (made with lean ground beef) in a warm pita with tomatoes and onions, dressed with sweet donair sauce. $12.
Crispy duck sandwich: a whole duck leg—marinated for 24 hours, braised, deep-fried and deboned—served on a Blackbird Bakery bun and topped with a pickled cucumber and carrot slaw, sriracha, sesame oil and cilantro. Served with fries or salad. $14.75.
Beef short ribs: slow-braised and dressed in a Jack Daniels and honey barbecue sauce. Served with fries and coleslaw. $19.95.
Joey’s fish and chips: Haddock, fresh-cut fries and a house-made tartar sauce. $15.