Introducing: Peoples Eatery, a new Chinatown restaurant from the 416 Snack Bar team
Name: Peoples Eatery
Contact Info: 307 Spadina Ave., 416-792-1784
Owners: The team behind 416 Snack Bar: Adrian Ravinsky, David Stewart, Matthew See and Dustin Gallagher
Chefs: Dustin Gallagher and his chef de cuisine Jonah Snitman
The Food: The one-page snack menu is meant to reflect Spadina’s past, present and future. Gallagher pays homage to the area’s Jewish roots with deli standards like potato knishes and smoked whitefish salad, while Chinese-inspired menu items—pork bao and cold chicken with daikon—reflect the strip’s present. Gallagher sees international influences, including Israeli and Indian cuisine, shaping Spadina’s future. Like 416 Snack Bar, the mostly shareable bites and platters are meant to be consumed without cutlery. The restaurant’s soon-to-open second floor will serve a more refined chef’s menu designed to be eaten with (gasp!) utensils.
The Drinks: The Ontario-heavy wine list includes several wines by the glass. For hops lovers, the lineup of American and Canadian craft beers includes bottles from small breweries like Left Field and Goose Island. Yanjing, a Chinese lager, is also available.
The Place: Peoples Eatery replaces an unassuming Cantonese restaurant by the same name. After extensive renovations, the tight squeeze of a main floor is now dominated by a green marble bar and a smattering of two-toned wood tables. In an attempt to preserve the two-story Victorian’s history, Ravinsky and crew restored the carved wooden detailing and exposed some original wallpaper buried under layers of fake wood paneling and other bad décor choices. Other historic nods: a whole wall papered with Trudeau-era posters opposing the Spadina expressway, and the former occupants’ neon Peoples Eatery sign, which beams bright despite being demoted to a basement wall fixture.
• $107 for the most expensive wine, a 2007 Status red
• 80 seats total, 40 on the main floor and 40 on the soon-to-open upstairs dining room
• 13 snack items on the menu
• 7 months of renos
• $5.46 is the average price of a snack
• 2 sharing platters: Peking duck and smoked fish
• 1 lucky loonie buried under the polished concrete floors