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Introducing: The Commissary, Leslieville’s new laid-back lunch spot

The salvaged barn wood is courtesy Urban Tree Salvage

The Commissary, a new Leslieville lunch spot, bucks the healthy hippie fare and burgers that dominate the area and opts instead for dishes like lobster bisque or shrimp flatbread pizza. When Sophie shut its doors, the Commissary’s four partners moved in and started the redesign, taking the 32-seat space from stark white and acid green to earthy warmth in russet, with exposed brick and reclaimed barn boards. Commissary chefs Andrew Bridgman and Rod Dannewald designed their menu around an unmet niche. “We asked the neighbourhood what it wanted,” says Bridgman, “and they said there’s nowhere to have lunch.”

Co-owner and front-of-house man Adam Cacciatore (whose time in the restaurant business dates back to peeling potatoes in the kitchen of his dad’s strip bar), has an unorthodox approach to staffing. “I only hired servers with no experience,” he told us. “I want them to still be smiling and curious about learning the business—this is a please-and-thank you-restaurant.” The team also gets the customers involved in menu development, asking what folks liked or didn’t and what they want to see on the menu. Currently, it offers spins on classic salads ($4–$7), soups ($4.50–$6) and sandwiches ($4–$9), as well as naan pizzas ($9–$11). At brunch, the kitchen sticks to several variations of eggs benny (including a $13 lobster variant) and French toast (including apple and brie, $9), and the coffee is from Café Feminino—grown by women, with profits going to foster positive change of women in the world’s coffee growing regions.

The partners have a green bent too, with plenty of salvaged wood around (from Urban Tree Salvage), along with secondhand and re-purposed pieces. The kitchen is keeping it as local as possible, relying on suppliers from the area—fish from Hooked, cheeses and bagels from Leslieville Cheese Market, breads from Brick Street—and employing a “use the whole animal” ethos. Next up for the Commissary: dinner service, a boulevard patio, fresh juices, house-made ice creams and tapas-style dining.

The Commissary, 889 Queen St. E., 416-477-3393,

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  • limehand

    University Roman type face on an umbrella gives the place an early seventies steak house facade …you wanna klassy? We got klassy!

  • Moi

    I have had lunch here several times. The sandwiches and French onion soup are quite good. Hopefully they will be supported by the locals in that neighborhood.

  • val valou

    we’ll try it for sure!!

  • Biff

    There are so many places to have lunch in the area though… Lady Marmalade, Lil Baci, Joy Bistro, Bonjour Brioche etc. Anyway… looks like a nice place. I’ll definitely try it out – especially when the line ups at Lady Marmalade are ridiculous.

  • TheVok

    It’s a wonderful location and I’m glad it still looks like Sophie, but I’m underwhelmed by the food.

  • djn

    amateur hour. i cant wait to be served by a novice that forgets my drink order and cant handle more than eight to ten guests without getting frazzled…all the while smiling and saying please and thank you. service is whats done, not whats said. dont worry, no one remotely capable will walk through those doors. anyone that knows better certainly will not share their tips with amateurs. you are pinning on your hopes on front of house staff that can add no value to your business. a lot of restauranteurs prefer it that way. their egos are too fragile to accept input from industry veterans and love to boss around those who simply dont know any better. too bad you wasted money but you have no hope.

  • mattagascar

    @djn: Sounds like sour grapes??? Perhaps a lesson in punctuation and grammar is in order too?