What’s the vibe
Home to a sit-down restaurant, larder, bar, takeout counter, bakery, and catering kitchen (oh, and there’s a patio too), the Drake Commissary’s many components can make it difficult to imagine before you see it. The 8,000 square-foot former factory space in the Junction Triangle is decked out in the Drake’s signature artsy style, complete with a futuristic mural by local artist Alex McLeod and deconstructed Mexican blanket wall hangings by Adrian Esparza. Each sophisticated area serves a distinct purpose yet also feels part of the cohesive whole, with the cozy lounge flowing easily into the swish dining room and more industrial larder area.
On the far right, bar stools line a row of massive glass windows, providing a view into the space’s impressive kitchen. The Commissary is the new culinary epicenter of the Drake’s network of properties, producing baked goods, sauces and other prepared foods for all the brand’s other locations, from Queen West to Prince Edward County.
What to drink
The Commissary’s diverse drink menu makes it equally suited to afternoon coffee catch-ups as evening date nights. Non-alcoholic options include brewed and specialty coffees courtesy of Reunion Island Coffee Roastery, Pluck teas, and cold-pressed juices from Village Juicery, along with smoothies, cold brew coffees, and well-crafted alcohol-free cocktails.
On the boozy side of things, there are red and white wines from the Drake’s own wine series, Rail Path, in addition to plenty of cocktails featuring house-made infusions. Beers are available on draft, plus by the bottle or can – don’t miss the Drake Art House beer, a blonde ale made for the Drake by their Junction Triangle neighbours, Henderson Brewing Co.
What to eat
While breakfast, lunch and brunch are all on offer at the Commissary, dinner was the focus during our visit. A few of the dishes are substantial enough to order as a main, but the menu emphasizes small plates and sharing platters.
Head baker Jonas Grupiljonas trained at the prestigious Tartine bakery in San Francisco, which means you’re going to want to try something with bread, such as one of the Danish smørrebrød, open-faced sandwiches served on 90% stone milled rye bread and layered with toppings like duck liver pate or trout roe and kale. Roman-style pizzas are served by the slice, and “protein” plates include options like house-smoked brisket and jerk chicken. It’s rare that a side dish steals the show, but the miso cauliflower did just that with its richly savoury combination of black garlic pesto and miso.
It’s all tasty enough to make it tough to leave without browsing the larder, where prepared lasagnas, ice cream, and house-made ingredients like BBQ sauce and pickled carrots are available for sale.
Dinner and drinks for two: around $70
128 Sterling Rd, 416-432-2922, drakecommissary.ca