The Black Hoof trots across the street
The west end’s temple of charcuterie, The Black Hoof, is expanding. A new café under the same management will be located just across Dundas Street from the current carnivore paradise. Hoof co-owner Jen Agg says construction is underway at the new space (previously occupied by the Chelsea Room) and proceeding quickly, but she becomes tight-lipped when asked about a specific opening date. Judging by a video posted on the restaurant’s blog, however, the derelict space has been gutted and seems to be shaping up.
The new café at 923 Dundas Street West will devote half of its 700 square feet to the kitchen, providing much needed growth from the current workspace. “We always wanted to expand nearby—but not necessarily make the current place bigger,” Agg says. “The kitchen’s awkward now because we use a home stove and there’s only 12 square feet of space for three guys to move around in. When the new space became available, we jumped on it, even though it came faster than we thought it would.”
Agg also says that the idea of opening the new spot on the ever-gentrifying Ossington Avenue was never in her mind. “I like that we’re separate from the chaos of a restaurant strip or a bar strip because they become saturated quickly,” Agg says.
Hoof Café will be open for brunch, though co-owner and chef Grant van Gameren won’t be serving old standbys like eggs Benedict. Diners should expect blood sausage crêpes, rabbit pancakes and “suckling pig Benny” to start their day. Agg will be the mixmaster, pouring cocktails made from scratch (she says the sodas will be homemade, as well, but she hasn’t invented any new concoctions yet). There will be a retail element, too, though van Gameren writes on his blog not to expect Black Hoof T-shirts. It’s all about the meat: “Selling charcuterie retail is a bitch, but I’m on it, and I won’t stop till I make it happen.”