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Wvrst, a new King West beer hall, to feature menu from “Southern Italy by way of Munich”

A couple weeks back, news broke that the space that once held Marc Thuet’s Conviction (which closed last fall and was previously Bite Me! and Bistro and Bakery Thuet) was turning into a loosely interpreted Munich-style beer hall called Wvrst. Recently, we caught up with chef and owner Aldo Lanzillotta to ask him about joining Hogtown’s sausage party.

Although Lanzillotta has an impressive resume (with stints at Susur, Xacutti and Canoe), he’ll be digging into his childhood and family heritage for recipes, inspiration and tradition. “Every fall we would get a pig and the whole family gathered together to make our own pancetta, salami, guanciale. But it wasn’t just about the pork. There was also a lot of sitting around, chatting and drinking espressos.” It’s the sitting around and drinking part that is going to be the focus at Wurst (Lanzillotta currently operates Simpo, a private chef service).

“I’ll be working with sausage makers off-site, to make my recipes and bring them into the kitchen,” Lanzillotta says. He’s currently considering three providers who, he assures us, “have all been in the sausage-making business for about 70 years.”

Lanzillotta is planning on serving rare, heritage and naturally raised meats such as Berkshire, Du Breton and Mangalica pork, as well as Jidori chickens from California. The menu will boast about 15 to 20 different sausages at any given time, including duck and that somewhat-baffling German favourite, currywurst. As well, Lanzillotta is developing vegetarian (curried lentil, topped with minted yogurt) and even vegan sausages.

He also plans to offer two kinds of French fries: vegetarian and double-dipped in duck fat, using the leftover fat from the duck sausages. “I really wanted to use horse fat—like they do in Belgium, where fries were invented,” Lanzillotta says. “When my father was growing up in Calabria, they cooked with horse fat. But it was just too hard to find here with any consistency.”

Lanzillotta has been working on the 4,000-square-foot space since he signed the lease in January, and he hopes to have it open by early May. With 140 seats inside—all at long communal tables—and another 30 or so on the boulevard patio, Lazillotta is banking on selling stein after stein of Canadian, Belgian and German craft-brews, backed by an indie rock and old-school funk soundtrack. He tells us the vibe he’s going for is “modern beer hall.” And the menu? “Southern Italy by way of Munich.”

Wvrst, 609 King St., W., 416-703-7775, wvrst.com.

  • Phil

    Just don’t sell out to the large mega-swill brewers. If you go near Molson’s or Labatt’s, you too will go under in no time. Remember, “craft”.

  • Guy Lafleur

    Funny, not too many places that serve so called swill go under, but I get it. Remember, Molson’s, Labatt’s and other large corporations control most the beer you drink in that province.

    This place sounds amaze.

  • roncesvaller

    This sounds fun and creative. Looking forward to it!

  • Adam Marafioti

    Sounds like the best restaurant ever!

  • Michael

    sausage?beer? wow cant wait

  • Dan

    Mmmmmm, currywurst!! Another reason
    to visit Berlin again soon.

  • Krys

    It’s about time that Toronto gets a proper beer hall! Cannot wait!! Counting down…

  • JamesFrand

    I went its disgusting the duck fries are cut way to thick, the currywurst is just gross. i HIGHLY do NOT! reccomend this “modern beer hall”
    SO..DISAPPOINTING

  • AshL

    I went to WVRST last night and really enjoyed it. I went at around 10 pm, it was not full, but was busy.. The food was great!

    I had the veggie sausage w/ paprika and caramelized onion and jalapenos, and my husband has a boar sausage with caramelized onions and sweet peppers. We both grabbed a beer each, and split a large order of the duck fries (both dipping sauces; Tomato based chipotle and mayo based rosemary-maple were great!) I avoided the currywurst at the advice of a friend.

    The music was WAY too loud, but the staff were friendly (a rare happening on King W) and we felt that the $40 for the both was totally reasonable.

    I enjoyed the communal style set up of the place, the novelty of it could wear off if the customer base turns out to be King W clubbers that would be less than fun to break bread with… so I will avoid the place during late night hours.

    I will totally be going back! I advise everyone to give it a shot.

  • Alexandra

    I went on Friday and had a great time. We had the kangaroo, wild boar, bison and duck sausages – my favourite was the duck. The kangaroo one was a little gamey, but I had to try it. The duck fat fries were amazing. My friend ordered regular fries just to compare, and they were like night and day – the duck fat really added a ton of depth.

    I loved the communal tables – the people we sat beside were so friendly and we ended up spending quite a bit of time talking between our two groups.

    The owner came over and talked to us for a bit, and then as we were leaving we ran into him outside and talked a bit more.

    Very friendly staff, good food (if you like sausage and fries) and tons and tons of great beers to choose from. A really nice concept for the King West strip, where sometimes the attitude can be very off-putting.

  • J Salt

    Awful. I went with a medium-sized group. Part of the charm of this place is apparenty the pleasure of paying upfront and then not getting what you ordered. Or getting it eventually after having to go begging hat-in-hand for the food you paid in advance for.

    Food was average…at best. Could taste no difference between the regular fries and the duck fat fries.

    You’re paying over $20 for a hotdog, french fries, and a draft beer. Come on Toronto, you’re better than that. Save your friends and take them somewhere else on King.

  • Johnny

    Where do I start?! This place is amazing. If you know anything about currywurst then you NEED to be at WVRST. Hands down the best place to get flavourful sausages in the city and the selection of both sausages AND beer will definitely have you coming back for more. The fries are fantastic (my wife’s fave) especially with the “wvrst” and rosemary/maple dipping sauces (plus other dips to choose from). Love the concept, too. We’re able to mingle with others on these long communal tables or just sit at the bar and keep to ourselves. Been there four times already and planning on making it 5 times for my friend’s 35th birthday party (actually going there for lunch tomorrow to try the Bison with Blueberry/Maple). It’s about time there’s a place to get good food on the King West strip without all that *clubber* ‘tude. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

  • JamesM

    I went on a Saturday night. If you like a line up culture this is where you go. I spend probably one hour of my eveing in a line up to just order food or in a line up to order beer. Then there is the wait for the food on top. Once you add the rudeness of the staff- the novelty of what in theory is a good concept wears off. The food isn’t bad and there is a unique range of beer. Their “no service” thing kills it completely and takes any relaxation of your weekend evening. I’m in no rush to go back and would recommend giving the place a miss.

 

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