Toronto Life - The Dish

The latest buzz on restaurants, chefs, bars, food shops and food events. Sign up for the Dish newsletter for weekly updates. Send tips to



Introducing: Small Town Food Co., a cozy Parkdale pub with big-city polish

Introducing: Small Town Food Co.

Name: Small Town Food Co.
Contact Info: 1263 Queen St. W., @smalltownfoodco
Neighbourhood: Parkdale
Owners: Wrongbar manager Stephen McKeon and former Drake Hotel bartender Cameron Hutton
Chef: Tallis Voakes, the former executive chef at Paintbox in Regent Park

The Food: Updates on British pub standards, like Scotch eggs wrapped in pork rillettes and a spin on fish and chips made with rare panko-crusted tuna and potato chips. Voakes isn’t afraid to cook with unconventional proteins: a traditional Bolognese is made with rabbit instead of beef, and deep-fried alligator bites sub for ordinary fried chicken. A Sunday roast dinner is in the works.

The Drinks: Fun cocktails made with spice-infused liquors, sodas and bitters. The tight wine list was designed by lauded sommelier Anton Potvin.

The Place: The owners’ goal was to create a polished, urban space with the warmth of a small-town tavern. The candlelit room is cozy but cool with a big curved bar, white subway tiles and pops of cherry-red. The open kitchen lets customers ogle their food as it’s prepared.

The Numbers:
• 30 seats
• 24 hours to prepare confit-style pork belly simmered in duck fat
• 7 days to infuse bourbon with cinnamon and clove for the restaurant’s signature Small Town Sour
• 1 wrought-iron lamppost standing in the middle of the room

Our Introducing series explores newly opened restaurants, bars and shops throughout the GTA
This is not a review.
Toronto Life’s starred reviews can be found in their entirety in our
Restaurant Guide. Got restaurant news, tips or rumours? Send them to

  • allthingsconsumed

    has anyone tasted deep fried alligator? in the name of being different or having a “new take” restaurants should avoid gimmicks that don’t stand up to the simple concept that food should taste good. Alligator is not a substitute for chicken. It is stickier and greasier.

  • joshua

    Actually, alligator meat is leaner but yes, chewier. it’s less sustainable than chicken and possibly more full of toxins (as any top of food chain, apex predator is). It is gimmick’ie’ though.

  • Frogslegs

    Yet another small plates “with a twist” joint opening in Parkdale? Wow, stop the presses! (Eyeroll) I am not too enthusiastic about any restaurant that tries to serve me a Scotch egg with a soft, snotty yolk. I really don’t need a gimmicky take on pub fare: I’d appreciate it far more if someplace in that stretch of little trendo hipster bar eateries actually just made really consistently good, normal fish and chips.

  • Ree

    Sadly, an awful meal. We pulled the chute and left after a few dishes.