Introducing: The Federal Reserve, Dundas West’s new brunch spot (with late-night snacks to come)
After a quiet opening last week, The Federal Reserve experienced a whirlwind first weekend, with Dundas West’s fevered brunch crowd gamely filling up the space (with NoNo’s and This End Up soon to open on the same strip, Dundas’s rate of restaurant openings is nearing Roncesvalles-like heights). Running the ship is a band of friends—Zach Slootsky, Duncan MacNeill, Joe Zabukovec and Adam Janes—all of whom are balancing their time at the Federal with other jobs both in and out of the restaurant industry (MacNeill’s currently at Woodlot and Slootsky, a sometime photographer, is at Swan).
Formerly home to Zoots Café, Slootsky and company fell in love with the bones of the place: a sunken entrance, exposed brick walls, a zig-zagging red-and-black tiled floor and a vintage kitchen in the back (currently used as their dish pit). After building the tables, extending the bar and removing an alarming shade of pink paint from some old church pews, the owners spruced up the room with finds from The Chief Salvage Co. and Post and Beam. The lighting—Edison bulbs suspended by cloth-wrapped wire—was inspired by The Drake.
Although the initial plan was to serve a French menu, the Federal is currently offering familiar midday favourites instead, like a Cubano sandwich: shaved roasted pork, slices of cheddar, ham and avocado, with a side salad and a generous portion of potato rösti ($12). The ploughman’s lunch features a daily selection of meat and a hunk of Québécois blue cheese, and is served with pickles and fresh bread from St. John’s Bakery ($12). The namesake egg dish features a pair of poached eggs on toasted English muffins drenched in a mushroom-tarragon cream sauce and served with either a sausage or greens ($11). The team sources their meat from Gasparro’s and Pavão across the street. Once they receive their liquor licence, the Federal will begin to serve a nighttime menu comprising small plates and family-sized platters as soon as possible. “We don’t want to be pigeonholed as a brunch spot!” Slootsky told us. Until then, expect a steady stream of west-enders seeking breakfast.
The Federal Reserve, 1438 Dundas St. W., 647-352-9120, thefed.ca