What’s on the menu at Tennessee Tavern, Grant van Gameren’s new Eastern European bar in Parkdale
Name: Tennessee Tavern
Contact: 1554 Queen St. W., 416-535-7777, @tennesseetavern
Owners: Grant van Gameren (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, Harry’s, El Rey, PrettyUgly), Max Rimaldi (Pizzeria Libretto), Alec Colyer
Chef: Brett Howson (Parlor Foods and Co.)
A menu that travels from the Baltics to the Balkans, stopping in just about every Slavic-speaking nation along the way. While some plates are straight-up traditional, including the goulash and schnitzel, others—like ćevapčići (Bosnia’s national dish) or the cabbage rolls—stray from babcia’s recipes. (Also: a corn dog.)
The extensive wine card is dedicated to cold-climate grapes. “Basically, I only chose bottles from cabbage-eating countries,” Colyer says. (Even the French and Italian offerings are from the Alpine regions.) Beers—and there are a whole bunch on offer including a dozen rotating draughts—are mostly hyper-local brews from the likes of Blood Brothers and Bellwoods. There’s also a super-short cocktail menu and a much-lengthier whiskey list.
The 88-seat restaurant is decked out in an eclectic assortment of antiques, including rocking horses, taxidermy and oversized birdcages. The trio of owners rounded up every tchotchke they could find and experimented with whether or not it worked in the cavernous room. And of course there’s custom-made neon signage, like a sausage-eating Pac-Man on the back patio.