What’s on the menu at Grand Cru Deli, a new wine bar in the Entertainment District
Name: Grand Cru Deli
Contact: 304 Richmond St W., 416-551-9221, grandcrudeli.com, @grandcrudeli
Neighbourhood: Entertainment District
Owners: Bruce Wallner (Sommelier Factory), Ariel Coplan (Thoroughbred), Alex Rykhva
Chefs: Executive chef Ariel Coplan and chef de cuisine James Kohls
Everything here starts with wine—even the business partnership. Alex Rykhva, a VP at MLSE, was upping his sommelier qualifications when he met both master sommelier Bruce Wallner and chef Ariel Coplan. During the day, the Sommelier Factory operates out of Grand Cru Deli’s second floor. With three winos in charge and a sommelier school on site, it only made sense for the menu to be wine-driven, too. “We asked ourselves what kind of food we wanted to eat with these delicious bottles of wine, and immediately we thought: good cheese and good meat,” says service director Alanna Stuart-Young. “That led to a menu of upscale deli food that’s a little nostalgic, but also fun.”
The wine list pulls from around the world, with an emphasis on natural wines. There are 18 by-the-glass options (divided evenly between bubbles, white and red). For guests that want to have the somm experience, Grand Cru servers will lead blind flight tastings. There’s always a surprise white, sparkling and red on offer for those keen to sip a wildcard wine. There’s other stuff for non–wine drinkers, too. At the moment there’s Blood Brothers and Beau’s and Dillon’s negroni on tap, but they’re looking to expand with some more Ontario sour beers and maybe a few beer-wine blends.
Because Grand Cru Deli is a full-day operation (they do pastries and coffee in the morning) whereas Thoroughbred was a late-night spot, they felt the need to brighten up the space. Tucked into a narrow, 40-seat room on the main level of a redbrick Victorian, the space drenched in sun from a street-facing bay window. They’ve pulled that brightness into the back of the space with coral paint and white marble tables.