Introducing: The Passenger, a cute new gastropub in the Junction with a little retro flair
Name: The Passenger
Contact Info: 2968 Dundas St. W., 416-762-0777, thepassenger.co
Neighbourhood: The Junction
Owners: Michelle Vella and Heather Osler, who also co-own The Beet across the street
Chef: Kahle Flaherty (previously of The Beet)
The Food: The Passenger shares The Beet’s ethical-eater ethos, which means its food is seasonal, local, humanely raised and sustainably caught. The menu is a bit of a hodge-podge, with items ranging from a very on-trend Mediterranean plate of Berbere chicken and pearl couscous, to an hors d’oeuvre platter plucked straight from the pages of a 1950s-era Good Housekeeping mag, complete with deviled eggs, mini gherkins and bacon-wrapped dates.
The Drinks: Former Terroni sommelier Lisa Lapointe has curated a short, international wine list with all bottles available by the glass. Prohibition-era cocktails include the Blood and Sand, a citrusy scotch-based drink named for the 1922 Rudy Valentino flick.
The Place: Inspired by local history, The Passenger pays homage to the Junction’s railway-rooted past: the long, bright room is decked out in brushed steel, copper and gleaming walnut. Designer Marco Pekota, who dreamed up everything from the tables to the light fixtures, was aiming for an retro-futuristic blend of Art Deco and steampunk. (Our favourite feature: the edgy gear detailing on the bar stools.)
• 100-seat patio application currently in the pipes
• $28 for the most expensive main, a good old-fashioned steak dinner
• 12 taps dedicated to craft beer (five will rotate)
• 5 years since Vella and Osler opened The Beet together
• 4 seafood dishes on the fish board, including Mussels Casino
• 1 year of renovations to turn this former Hakim Optical into an eatery