What’s on the menu at Sugo, a new Italian-American spot that makes spaghetti sandwiches

What’s on the menu at Sugo, a new Italian-American spot that makes spaghetti sandwiches

Name: Sugo
Contact: 1281 Bloor St. W., 416-535-1717, sugotoronto.com, @sugotoronto
Neighbourhood: Bloordale
Owners: Alex Wallen, Conor Joerin and Scott Pennock (The Emerson)
Chef: Conor Joerin (The Emerson)

The food

A menu of red-sauce classics: pasta, sandwiches, salads and some deep-fried apps like mozzarella sticks and calamari. “I wanted to open up a neighbourhood joint with big portions at cheap prices—a place where my friends could watch the game and eat the food we loved as kids,” says Joerin, who grew up eating at Bitondo’s and Tony & Nick’s Place.

Clockwise from top: hot Hungarian peppers stuffed with what Joerin refers to as “the holy trinity,” of veal, pork and beef ($3 for one pepper); garlic bread ($4), mozzarella sticks with marinara dipping sauce ($6) and marinated olives ($4).


The classic caesar salad is doused in house-made dressing, rich in garlic and anchovies. Bacon bits are swapped out for crispy pancetta. $8.


This caprese salad is made with house-pulled mozzarella. $10.


The calamari is dredged in chickpea flour so it’s gluten-free. A few deep-fried banana peppers add some kick. $12.


The meatball—a blend of veal, pork and beef—is mixed with some milk, ricotta and Asiago, then stewed in tomato sauce for two hours. $7.


Spaghetti in the house sugo. $9.


Rigatoni in a rosé sauce is topped with grana padano. If the kitchen isn’t too busy, they’ll happily whip up a Bolognese or a simple red sauce. $9.


“Growing up in Little Italy, my friend’s mom would have a big pot of sugo cooking down on Saturday nights. We’d go to his place and watch Freddy Krueger movies until midnight, which is when the drunk uncles would come home from the bar, and we’d all eat spaghetti and meat-sauce sandwiches,” says Joerin, pictured here. He’s calling this nostalgic sandwich, which stuffs carbs with more carbs, the Raging Bolognese. $13.


And here it is in action.


The drinks

The five-item cocktail list includes classics (martini, manhattan) and a few no-frills innovations. The Benny Bianco, for instance, is an easy-sipping mix of Martini Bianco and muddled lime. Although there isn’t a negroni on the menu, Wallen will make you one if you ask nicely. Bottled beers are strictly Italian (Peroni, Birra Moretti), while the Coke is strictly Mexican and the coffee (Rufino) hails from Concord.

The Benny Bianco: Martini Bianco and muddled lime. $7.


The space

Alex Wallen is big into boxing. Not only are the walls plastered with old Ring magazine covers, but they’ve hired young boxers from local gyms to man the kitchen. “The learning curve’s been tough,” says Joerin. “Some of these kids didn’t even know how to hold a knife, but it’s great to teach them another skills and their work ethic is amazing. They show up early, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.” The three-table room is done up like a classic red sauce joint: checkered table clothes, a couple of TVs and a well-loved foosball table stabilized with empty tomato boxes.