What’s on the menu at Beast Pizza, Scott Vivian’s new pizzeria serving meaty pies and whole-animal feasts
Name: Beast Pizza
Contact: 96 Tecumseth St., 647-352-6000, thebeastrestaurant.com, @beast_pizza_to
Neighbourhood: King West
Owners: Scott Vivian (Beast), Nate Middleton and Adnan Pirbhai
Chef: Nate Middleton (Home of the Brave)
Accessibility: Step at the front, bathroom on main floor
Since it opened in 2010, Beast has been synonymous with three things: brunch, nose-to-tail carnivorism and a more-is-more ethos. For over a decade, Scott Vivian’s lo-fi room delighted diners with consistently decadent plates. Then Covid hit and he was forced to transform Beast into a bodega to survive. Last summer, rather than continue to ride the lockdown rollercoaster, Vivian decided it was time to finally revamp the restaurant. After a 10-month reno, Beast is back—but this time, it’s a pizzeria. Fret not Beast fans: six-course whole-animal dinners are still on the menu. However, we regret to inform brunch-goers that the mid-morning meal has been 86’d. (Although, for the foreseeable future you can still get your hands on a Beastwich at Blood Brothers Brewing.)
Another update: Scott Vivian is stepping out of the kitchen. He’s handed the reigns over to his long-time friend Nate Middleton. The duo had done pizza pop-ups before, so the idea of opening a pizzeria together seemed only natural. Not only was a pizzeria a (more) pandemic-proof business option, it would also allow them to host nightly pizza parties. Win-win. “Pizza is one of those things that can be anything,” says Middleton. “It gives us a lot of room to have fun and keep it all very Beast.” For example, where else can you find tongue or beef heart as pizza toppings? Or kimchi olives as an app?
The booze selection can be summed up in six words: brown liquor, craft beer, natural wine. Instead of cherrypicking one or two beers from a long list of breweries, Vivian has focused on stuff from local favourites (Blood Brothers, Bellwoods, Godspeed, Matron, Beyond the Pale) so guests can get a better sense of what each brewery has to offer. Wine, meanwhile, includes many Niagara options (Rosewood, Leaning Post) alongside bottles from Italy, Spain and France. For the booze-averse, there’s Acid League Wine Proxies, a rotating non-alcoholic draught option and Five Alive.
Tucked between residential houses on a tree-lined street that connects King to Queen, Beast has always had oodles of lo-fi appeal. Although the space has been entirely redone (new giant windows, a six-person oak bar, tin ceiling, and open kitchen have made the space feel brighter and bigger), the room still packs charm. “I modelled it after McSorely’s, New York’s oldest Irish pub,” says Vivian.