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What’s on the menu at Greta, a new 12,500-square-foot bar with more than 50 arcade games

Welcome to King West, Pac-Man

By Erin Hershberg| Photography by Jelena Subotic
A tray of nachos

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Name: Greta Bar YYZ Contact: 590 King St. W., gretabar.com/locations/toronto, @gretabaryyz
Neighbourhood: King West
Owners: Chris DeCock and Casey Greabeiel Chefs: Corporate chef Taylor Iwaasa and head chef Shawn Tesoro Accessibility: Fully accessible

Greta co-owner Casey Greabeiel jumped on the arcade-bar concept back in 2018, when he saw a shift in the market. “I’ve been in the hospitality industry since I was 19,” he says. “I bought in to my first chain, Hudson’s Canada’s Pub, in 2003, growing it to 11 locations.” But then, sometime around the late 2010s, Greabeiel and his partners started to notice a change in partying patterns. “People started looking for experiences in bars—something to do rather than just drink.”

Greta co-owner Casey Greabeiel and head chef Shawn Tesoro play a game of Skee-Ball
Greta co-owner Casey Greabeiel (left) and head chef Shawn Tesoro, playing a game of Skee-Ball

Greabeiel and his team opened up their first Greta in Calgary, with a plan to expand across Canada. The concept was simple: street-food snacks, quality drinks and a boatload of multiplayer arcade games. “We put tables to hold beer and food next to all of our arcade games so that our customers could hang around them and chat,” says Greabeiel. “These aren’t meant to be serious gaming stations—it’s all about joining in on the fun.” Four locations and one pandemic later, Greta has opened its most ambitious arcade bar yet: a 12,500-square-foot space inside a heritage building on King West. “Before Covid, a place like this would have been reserved for office and retail, but because that market dried up, we were able to get in,” says Greabeiel. “Pre-2020, this would have been impossible.” There’s room for three massive bars, more than 50 arcade games, a DJ booth and dance floor, a full restaurant, and half of a food truck (for walk-up orders in lieu of table service).

The food truck kitchen at Greta, an arcade bar on King West
The food

Chef Shawn Tesoro, who worked under Susur Lee for over a decade, turns out sharing plates of street food–inspired snacks that lean Asian. The Korean fried chicken wings are cornflake crusted, drenched in house barbecue sauce, then piled high. For his take on tempura mushrooms (insert Mario Kart reference here), Tesoro gathers an assortment of fungi (enoki, oyster, portobello, cremini), dunks them in a traditional tempura batter, fries them to a golden crisp and finishes them with freshly shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and lemon zest. And of course it wouldn’t be a Toronto kitchen without a proper smash burger (insert Super Smash Bros joke here), served with hand-cut fries.

A bowl of fries dressed with pickle juice and grana padano
This is what happens when you cross fries with deep-fried pickles. Tesoro coats hand-cut taters in cornstarch, fries them, then tosses them in dill pickle seasoning, dill pickle juice and Grana Padano. $14.50

 

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A tray of nachos
The Greta Nachos are a tray of fried-to-order tortilla chips dolloped with a smoky black-bean purée and drizzled with three house sauces: spicy roja, chili lime and chipotle. On top goes feta, guacamole, pickled onions, sliced jalapeno peppers, pico de gallo and cilantro. $32.50

 

Roasted and deep-fried brussels sprouts on beer cheese and garnished with popcorn and pickled grapes
The Bucket List Brussels Sprouts are one of the staples from Salt and Brick YYC. The sprouts are coated with maple syrup and salt and pepper, then roasted and deep-fried to order. They arrive at the table piled on a swoosh of warm beer cheese and garnished with white-cheddar popcorn and white wine–pickled grapes. $15.75

 

Orzo arancini on Alfredo sauce
For his arancini, Tesoro uses orzo instead of the traditional risotto. The Panko-crusted orbs are plated on top of house Alfredo sauce and finished with freshly shaved Grana Padano. $16.50

 

Deep-fried mushrooms
This vegetarian bar snack is a medley of mushrooms (portobello, enoki, oyster, cremini) dredged in a traditional tempura batter, fried to a crisp and tossed in lemon zest and Parmigiano Reggiano. On the side: truffle aioli, because this dish wasn’t fungi enough already. $14.75

 

A trio of pork belly sliders
House-made bao are stuffed with roasted pork belly cooked for 24 hours in a master sauce flavoured with a variety of spices including Chinese five spice, cinnamon, star anise and cloves. The sliders are dressed with fresh charred-pineapple salsa, dashi aioli and pickled onion. $17.50

 

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What's on the menu at Greta, a new 12,500-square-foot bar with more than 50 arcade games
The curry shrimp fried rice is loaded with lap cheong, egg, green onions and gulf shrimp. It’s all tossed in a house-made curry sauce, then finished with some fried garlic and shallots for crunch. $20.50

 

A double smash burger and fries
The Greta Burger tops two Wagyu beef patties on a brioche bun with American cheddar, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and “fancy sauce.” Served with fries. $22.50

 

The drinks

The cocktail card lists Greta’s takes on the classics, including a negroni, an old fashioned and the obligatory espresso martini (but with a fruity twist). Taps here pour both batched cocktails (mules, margaritas) and local and imported beer, plus Western Canada’s favourite shooter: the Shaft, a mix of vodka and caffeine three ways (cold brew, espresso, coffee liqueur). Giddy up!

Greta's most popular drink is an easy sipping, brightly flavoured fruit-forward cocktail called the Raspberry Refresher
The bar’s most popular drink is this easy-sipping, brightly flavoured, fruit-forward cocktail called the Raspberry Refresher. It’s a stirred blend of Ketel One peach vodka, elderflower liqueur, lime juice and house raspberry syrup, served over ice with a splash of soda. $17

 

The Re-Fashioned is a blend of bourbon, chai-infused simple syrup, orange, Angostura and root beer bitters
The Re-Fashioned is a blend of bourbon, chai-infused simple syrup, orange, Angostura and root beer bitters. $17

 

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Greta's Bourbon Jam is a blend of Bulleit Bourbon, honey, lemon juice and house blackberry jam
The Bourbon Jam is a blend of Bulleit bourbon, honey, lemon juice and house blackberry jam. $17

 

The Espresso Pomtini is Greta’s slightly fruity and refreshing twist on the espresso martini
The Espresso Pomtini is Greta’s slightly fruity and refreshing twist on the espresso martini. Here, the shaken-and-strained drink is built with house cold brew, Tito’s vodka, amaretto liqueur, Kahlúa, pomegranate syrup, and both Peychaud’s and chocolate bitters. $17

 

A bartender shakes a cocktail
The space

The two-storey space looks somewhat like a futuristic saloon, but—thanks to all the wood, exposed brick and velvet—it doesn’t feel post-apocalyptic. The central focus (besides all the brightly coloured, noise-making machines) is what’s known as Charlie’s Bar: a separate area in the middle of the main floor with a DJ, a dance floor, an art deco–inspired bar and bottle service. It’s an exact replica of Charlie’s Watch Repair, a speakeasy Greabeiel also co-owns out west.

A few of the bar at Greta from the dining room
The dining room at Greta has booth seating but also tables with bar stools
The dining room at Greta's in Toronto is decorated with graffiti art
Purple velvet booths in the dining room at Greta
Shelves behind the bar at Greta are stocked with bottles of liquor
The bar at Greta YYZ
Vintage pinball games at Greta, an arcade bar on King West
Skee-Ball games at Greta, an arcade bar in Toronto
What's on the menu at Greta, a new 12,500-square-foot bar with more than 50 arcade games
What's on the menu at Greta, a new 12,500-square-foot bar with more than 50 arcade games
Oversized arcade games , like Crossy Road, at Greta in Toronto
What's on the menu at Greta, a new 12,500-square-foot bar with more than 50 arcade games

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