“Anybody can do a good burger,” says Todd Savage, co-owner of Stack, uptown’s answer to Barque. “But being the pit master is a real art form.” Indeed, Savage and his high-school buddy from “about 400 years ago,” Bill Panos, originally intended to devote their new restaurant to on-trend burgers, but ended up deciding it was important to have more options, especially for a family-friendly spot.
With about 30 years in the food business between them, the pair have mixed and matched the best of their respective experiences. Taking over a 4000-square-foot space, the restaurant is spread out over two storeys, with a custom-made chandelier of sorts tying the space together. Built by Philip Scalena of Scalena and Associates, the fixture is composed of three stacked chrome circles with acrylic chips suspended below. A palette of cream and brown runs throughout the place, with red tile accents adding warmth. The most important part of the restaurant, however, is visible in a back corner, contained behind glass: a 1,200-pound Southern Pride smoker.
In addition to burgers and barbecue, the extensive menu has a selection of salads, tacos, paninis and sandwiches, as well as various dessert items. Panos’s year-and-a-half of burger research resulted in 13 variations. The chipotle version features eight ounces of Ontario ground beef, which is grilled on the flat top and brushed with chipotle. The patty is then placed on a Fred’s Bread bun and topped with Monterey Jack alongside dusted jalapeños, fire-roasted corn salsa, avocado and house-made pico de gallo. Finishing off the whole affair are some tortilla strips for added crunch and a squirt of spicy ranch dressing ($12). Stack’s southern-style brisket sandwich is served on a soft bun, topped with crispy onion and drenched in house-made barbecue sauce ($10). There are also lighter options, like a trio of blackened catfish tacos wrapped in corn tortillas and served with pico de gallo and chipotle ranch dressing ($10). Finally, for dessert, Stack has its own take on s’mores: a cone of oven-fresh vanilla-glazed doughnuts loaded up with graham cracker crumbles, chocolate sauce and a pile of mallows ($5).
Stack, 3265 Yonge St., 647-346-1416