Just Opened: My Place: A Canadian Pub
Well before it served its first burger, Brad Long’s new restaurant was getting chatter. At 18,000 square feet, capacity for over 700, a big-name chef, four floors, a huge patio and a Bloor West Village location, the project was an odd confluence of factors, and Toronto foodies were hotly debating it. But Long, his right-hand man Dave Billington and co-owner Randy Metcalfe seemed deaf to it all, slowly converting the former Billy Bob’s Bistro and Saloon into My Place: A Canadian Pub. The restaurant has been opening in stages since September 2, with its final phase—a sports bar—unveiled last night.
“It was never meant to be a gastropub,” explains Long as he describes the restaurant’s transformation. Gone is the funhouse feel of Billy Bob’s, replaced by a soothing palette in the dining room and a more vibrant red-and-black scheme in the main floor pub. The decor is “logistics based,” he says, noting that he preferred to invest in a brand new kitchen than in design—in other words, he wants to attract diners for the food, not the beauty.
Using sustainable, local sources isn’t a fad for Long—“It’s always just made sense.” The Tilsonburger ($14) is the most popular item on the menu and is made with Y U Ranch wild longhorn beef, from southern Ontario. “These are cattle that bred in the wild for centuries after they escaped from cattle trains and ships. They’re a hardy breed that can withstand our winters and even calf by themselves,” explains Long. Vying for popularity is the half-pound banquet burger ($14) with bacon and cheese made using the same beef. Nods to the neighbourhood—Bloor West Village has long been home to Polish and Ukrainian immigrants—include caramelized onion pierogies and roasted pork cabbage rolls.
My Place is already gathering steam in an area hungry for more culinary destinations. A recent Saturday night netted a full house, starting with stroller-laden families in the early evening and couples later on. Though many are squabbling about My Place, locals appear to be responding to Long’s process of sourcing food that was produced ethically “and then making sure it’s damn tasty, makes you feel good and look good.”
My Place: A Canadian Pub, 2448 Bloor St. W., 647-348-4702, myplacepub.ca.