Month: January 2017

Super Bowl 51 touches down at Yonge + St. Clair

Yonge + St. Clair is spoiled when it comes to bars. So deciding which bar to watch the Super Bowl at can be a daunting decision. Often, it doesn’t depend on beer and food with big sporting events – you want the right atmosphere. You want to find a bar that captures the energy and spirit of Super Bowl weekend. Luckily, Yonge + St. Clair is home to a handful of sport bars holding great events for you and your fellow football fanatics.


11 St. Clair Ave W.

This Yonge + St. Clair staple has become the bar to watch live sports in midtown-Toronto. This locally owned establishment comes equipped with 26 HD screens, an HD projector, three floors, a year-round heated rooftop patio, three bars and extensive pub fare menu.

Union Social Eatery

21 St. Clair W.

Union Social will be playing the sound during the Super Bowl, changing the typically casual restaurant space into a sports bar for the big game. As we wrote about earlier this week, Union Social takes pride in having something for everyone, offering a vast selection of food and drink options for the big game. Sunday will feature a $5 Steam Whistle pint special and a $29.95 pitcher and nacho platter combo.

Raiders E-Sports Bar

49 St. Clair Ave W.

Raider’s E-Sports Bar is set to transform their entire venue into a Super Bowl party – live streaming the game across all 34 TVs and 2 HD projectors. With the standard food and drink specials, Raiders will be holding raffles for Raiders merch and computer-gaming accessories throughout the game. Find out more information on their event page.

The Jester on Yonge

1427 Yonge St.

The Jester on Yonge has been serving the Yonge + St. Clair community for over 25 years. It’s a great neighbourhood tavern with good pub fare and a warm and friendly staff. Jester will be playing the game on their bar HD TVs and the HD Projector in the back room, serving $6 Moosehead pints and $6 Super Bowl Shooters. They are also home to one of the best craft beer selections in midtown-Toronto if your group consist of more discerning beer connoisseurs.

Kick off for Super Bowl LI is 6:30PM this Sunday, so find your spot early if you want a great seat. Game on!

Union Social has something for everyone

Yonge + St. Clair is a community with lots of good energy, hustle, and bustle. It also serves as a transit and business hub for many in the city. And while this action is an attraction, it can become difficult for many to find the time to relax amidst all the dates and deadlines of busy life. Enter Union Social Eatery. This establishment aimed to address that concern; finding a comfortable escape, when they opened their second location at Yonge + St. Clair in 2014, bringing their ‘union of a casual restaurant and a lively neighbourhood gathering spot’ to the neighbourhood.

We sat down with Union Social managers Linton Wright and Marla Forbes to talk casual dining, community gatherings, and life at Yonge + St. Clair.

Union Social’s philosophy is “common food, done uncommonly well” through their well-crafted menus and cocktails, extensive draught and wine selection, and comfortable and hospitable atmosphere.

“It’s a full package,” explains Linton, “The name itself says it – Union Social. It’s a place to come in, have fun, lay back and relax. We work hard to make it a spot that’s full of excitement and energy.”

Union Social achieves this with a broad and reasonably priced menu. “There is something for everyone,” adds Marla – and she’s not kidding, the Union Social menu is vast, you could visit Union Social every day for almost two months and not have the same meal twice. This doesn’t even include weekend brunch, the weekly lunch feature, or the ‘killer chicken’ special. How is a first timer to manage?

To help, Union Social is adamant of always having a manager seat a table with a first timer. “We like to get to know our guests a bit when they arrive – where they’re coming from, how they heard of us. We want to get a feel of what brought them here.”

To that end, Union Social will often provide a starter as a thank you for joining them. “We feel it’s the key of getting guests to come back,” adds Linton. “We even try to remember our guests birthdays and bring them a little cake.”

To start, Linton and Marla recommend the Mediterranean trio dip of house-made hummus, Kalamata tapenade, and sundried tomato and feta ($8.00) or one of their four types of tacos ($8.00 for 3).

“The price point is probably the best in the neighbourhood, and the food is fantastic – made from scratch with simple ingredients. It’s common food done uncommonly well.”

As for their personal favourites, “I eat the Thai Bowl almost every day” shares Marla. “The Vindaloo is another go-to, and the burgers here are phenomenal – 100% beef-brisket, hand pressed, made to order.”

“I second the burgers and the Vindaloo,” adds Linton. “I also fancy the Candy House Salad with sugared walnuts, mango, roasted red peppers, and feta. I can eat those every day.”

“Well maybe not every day, I am getting older,he says with a chuckle.

In regards to the Yonge + St. Clair community, Linton and Marla are impressed. “It’s great – we’re not really downtown, we’re not uptown. Yonge + St. Clair is a true midtown, and because of that we get a wide array of people coming to Union Social.”

“The working community, the local families, we have everything we need right here. It’s the perfect spot.”

Union Social Eatery is open 11AM to late seven days a week, and is participating in Winterlicious until February 9th.

Winterlicious 2017 at Yonge + St. Clair

For two delectable weeks, Toronto’s beloved Winterlicious will bring a series of mouth-watering dining experiences to over 220 restaurants in the city. Yonge + St. Clair will not be missing out on the fun, with a number of our amazing restaurants participating from January 27th to February 9th.

Six restaurants at Yonge + St. Clair will be serving an elevated dining experience in three-course prix fixe menus, and today’s blog will serve up the best that our aspirational culinary community has to offer.

Try something contemporary or traditional, or just try it all at Yonge + St. Clair. Winterlicious will begin taking reservations this Thursday, January 12th.

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1. Jaeger Schnitzel at Schnitzel HUB

1415 Yonge Street | Winterlicious Menu: $23 Lunch, $38 Dinner

Schnitzel HUB is a cozy restaurant and artisan vodka bar located right at Yonge + St. Clair.  Profiled last month, Schnitzel HUB has been serving European tradition to midtowners, with their perogies and schnitzels becoming big hits with the neighbourhood.

Schnitzel HUB’s Jaeger Schnitzel is a ‘crispy breaded cutlet with your choice of veal, chicken, pork or eggplant, topped with bacon, mushroom and red wine sauce, perfectly paired with traditional spaetzle and roasted heirloom root vegetables.’ The authentic Eastern European food of Schnitzel HUB is all made from scratch daily, and is an excellent choice for those that love hearty European classics.


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2. Brie & Sweet Pepper Relish Chicken Sandwich at Union Social Eatery

21 St. Clair Avenue W | Winterlicious Menu: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Union Social Eatery is a local lunch hotspot known for their well-crafted menus and extensive draught and wine selection. They’ve brought their well-thought menu to Winterlicious with $18 lunches and $28 dinners. Union Social’s Brie and sweet pepper relish Chicken Sandwich is area neighbourhood favourite, topped with fresh brie cheese, marinated fresh chicken breast, sweet pepper relish, and four herb mayo.

Union Social prides themselves in their approach to casual dining, or as they like to say, it’s ‘common dining, done uncommonly well.’


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3. Ravioli Di Ricotta at Capocaccia Trattoria

1366 Yonge Street | Winterlicious Menu: $23 Lunch, $38 Dinner

Yonge + St. Clair is home to one of Toronto’s best Italian restaurants in Capocaccia Trattoria. Capocaccia provides a contemporary approached to fine-Italian dining with deep-grained wood tables intimately set up and lit softly to create a cozy bistro-style atmosphere, and additional seating options at their long bar and high-top communal table.

Every item on Capocaccia’s Winterlicious menu is delightful, from their pizzas to pastas to salads, but we recommend the Ravioli Di Ricotta, stuffed with spinach and ricotta with a squash purée, and topped with hazelnuts and black truffle.


A photo posted by Callais’ Cookie Craze (@callaiscookiecraze) on

4. Crackling Roasted Boneless Cornish Hen at Barnsteiner’s

1 Balmoral Avenue | Winterlicious Menu: $23 Lunch, $38 Dinner

Barnsteiner’s has brought some of the most extensive culinary knowledge and history to the neighbourhood, since opening their doors at Yonge + St. Clair in 2015. All the food is made from scratch and sourced locally by Chef Herbert Barnsteiner, an industry veteran with experience working some of Europe’s top restaurants.

The restaurant itself provides a “New York meets California atmosphere,” with the Crackling Roasted Boneless Cornish Hen being our choice for Winterlicious patrons. The locally sourced Cornish hen is seared perfectly and served with charred fall vegetables, apricots, shallots, fingerling potatoes, and leaf spinach, and is available on both the lunch and dinner menus.


A photo posted by 1251 Yonge St – Toronto, ON (@brownesbistro) on

5. Atlantic Salmon at Brownes Bistro

1251 Yonge Street | Winterlicious Menu: $18 Lunch, $28 Dinner

Brownes Bistro has been a Rosedale staple for over 30 years, “cherished by the neighbourhood’s affluent denizens as well as lovers from all over Toronto.” Brownes prides themselves in offering satisfying and sophisticated French cuisine at reasonable prices, and their Winterlicious menu reflects that.  

The lunch and dinner offering of Atlantic salmon, topped with citrus-herb-lime infused butter, new potatoes and seasonal vegetables, is a local favourite. We also recommend the grilled calamari, served with arugula and drizzled with aged balsamic and shallot sauce.


! ! Fish & chips and duck poutine !!

A photo posted by ???? (@jennaaranas) on

6. Petite Duck Poutine at The Rosedale Diner

1164 Yonge Street | Winterlicious Menu: $23 Lunch, $38 Dinner

Another neighbourhood staple, the family-owned Rosedale Diner has become famous for its ‘Bohemian style and Israeli flair,’ winning over locals since 1978. Their menu is an eclectic mix of bistro classics and Middle Eastern inspired cuisines, and their Winterlicious menu has this on full display.

Their menu this year is extensive, with popular menu items like the locally sourced Kuntz Farm Wagyu Burger and Fried Chicken Mac and Cheese available. We recommend the Petite Duck Poutine from their starters menu, served with confit duck, Québécois cheese curds, smoky duck gravy, and crackling, which is available on both the lunch and dinner menus.


The History of St. Clair Avenue

St. Clair Avenue has played a long and important role in Toronto’s history and today the Yonge + St. Clair blog explores this amazing history.


The History of St. Clair

The first settlement on St. Clair was right at Yonge Street, where the Heath family bought land in 1837, with settlements rapidly growing westward from there. As the street grew in prominence, the British would eventually lay out St. Clair as the third concession road in Toronto, two kilometers north of Bloor, and four away from Queen Street. Over the next 70 years, the municipalities of West Toronto, Earlscourt, Dovercourt, and Oakwood were established along St. Clair Avenue.

These municipalities were eventually annexed by the City of Toronto between 1908 and 1911 and became entirely managed by the city. It was at this time that the city built the 512 streetcar line from Yonge Street to Caledonia Road, allowing St. Clair to become a vital crosstown line for the city. The introduction of the 512 streetcar allowed St. Clair to better serve the city’s rush hour traffic, and eventually allowed the avenue to become a part of provincial highway 5A in 1941. By 1952, the surrounding infrastructure developed enough that it no longer needed to be a part of the provincial road system.

Much of the development from this era survives, with St. Clair experiencing little development since the 1950s, especially relative to the rest of Toronto.


The 512 Streetcar Line

On the early morning of August 25th, 1913, the 512 St. Clair streetcar made its maiden voyage to very little fanfare. In fact, there was a bit of controversy behind its implementation with locals not agreeing with the decision to give the streetcar its own right-of-way lane. Controversy or not, St. Clair Avenue has the distinction of being one of the first five laneways in Toronto to become equipped with a streetcar, and over time it played a vital role in the development of the city’s midtown. In 1909, four years before the 512’s opening, only 5 people lived on St. Clair east of Dufferin. Residents at that time had to trek to Davenport Road to access the nearest transit line.

As Vintage Home Boutique wrote, the fare to ride the 512 streetcar cost only two cents and ran ‘every 6 minutes during the day and every 4 minutes during rush hour.’ The dedicated lane for the 512 only lasted until 1928, but was reimplemented in 2005, reopening earlier this year.

The laying of the 512 streetcar line marked Toronto’s northward growth and not only helped cement the impact of the avenue for the city, but elevated the lives of the residents along St. Clair.

The Namesake of St. Clair

As for the origin of the St. Clair name, many assume that it is derived from the Roman Catholic Saint Clare, but this is untrue. The St. Clair name is literary in origin, derived from the character Augustine St. Clare from the 1852 novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin. The Grainger family, who rented a farm near present day Avenue Road and St. Clair, had viewed a theatrical production of the novel. One of the Grainger boys, Albert, decided to use ‘Clair’ as his middle name as he wasn’t given a middle name at birth. For fun, Albert painted the misspelt name on a sign and nailed it to a tree on his family farm. The sign was discovered some time after the Graingers’ death in 1872, and was subsequently adopted as the name for the street.

Yonge + St. Clair thanks the Grainger boys for their part in our history.

Historical images provided by the Toronto History Flickr account here, and here.