Torito’s former chef sets up roast chicken restaurant in Igor Kenk’s old bike shack

Torito’s former chef sets up roast chicken restaurant in Igor Kenk’s old bike shack

927 Queen West: foul past, fowl future (Image: Google) 

One has to wonder how Igor Kenk would feel knowing his old Queen West cycle clinic is about to be replaced by something even greasier than a bike chain. By late August or early September, the once-unmissable storefront across from Trinity Bellwoods will be converted to a takeout chicken joint owned and operated by Carlos Hernandez, the chef who recently left Kensington tapas joint Torito.

The new restaurant, with 10 or 15 seats, is being modelled on a Portuguese churrasqueira. Hernandez says he will offer such “wholesome food” as salads, brown rice, soups and stews alongside oven-roasted, free-range chicken. “I’m catering to the neighbourhood, the young couples around there.”

Hernandez is calling his first foray into restaurant ownership Inigo, a play on the words “in” and “go,” but also meaning to ignite or start something.

Before construction began, the space was filled with oil, old bicycle parts and garbage. “It was kind of strange, but it has been gutted, and there’s a whole different feeling in there already,” Hernandez says.

Is he planning to keep any reference to Kenk’s legacy?

“I think he’s had enough attention. The only thing that will remain is a beautiful bell that was right at the front. I’m going to have it restored and put somewhere, maybe inside.”