More and more, it seems as though Clubland is outgrowing its old epicentre at the Richmond and John area and oozing west along King Street into what was once a much more sedate dining destination led by Susur, Lee, Marc Thuet’s nom-de-jour resto, Brassaii and Rodney’s. As we reported back in April, it’s into this shifting scene that chef and simple food enthusiast Aldo Lanzillotta has opened his first restaurant, Wvrst, which serves up artisanal sausages and brews in a casual beer hall setting.
Nipping off the main drag and following the big red W up a set of dark, grey stairs takes you to the sort of place where worn-out jeans, lumberjack jackets and ironic baseball caps are all welcome. The 4,000-square-foot open space is strung with bare light bulbs and set with long communal tables, benches and stools, with the tunes swinging wildly from house to classic rock.
The concept—Munich-style beer hall—is all over the focused sausage, fries and beer menu. On the night we visited, Lanzillotto and his old friend Claudio Aprile (Origin, Colborne Lane) huddle in a corner, perhaps discussing Aprile’s rumoured expansion, perhaps simply talking sausage. At one of the blonde wood tables, six bros play a drinking game, while further down, a bunch of cool kids in pork pie hats drink from brew-appropriate glassware.
Lanzillotta is currently offering a menu of 18 sausages, including kangaroo with herbs ($9), bison with blueberry and maple ($9), Mediterranean lamb with olives ($6) and Guinea fowl with old cheddar and asparagus ($9), served on buns from Golden Wheat Bakery and Pastry on College. These are paired with over 30 beers ($6–$11) and French fries that are double-dipped in duck fat and sprinkled with Maldon sea salt ($4.50–$6.50).
Some of the place is still a little rough around the edges: Lanzillotta is waiting on signage, outside lighting and his 30-seat boulevard patio. But he remains optimistic that it will all come together some time this summer.
Wvrst, 609 King St. W., 416-703-7775, wvrst.com.