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How Keriwa chef Aaron Joseph Bear Robe would spend a perfect Saturday on Roncesvalles

My Perfect Saturday: Aaron Joseph Bear Robe

I work on Saturdays, but my sous chefs hold down brunch so I can spend the day with my family and come in for dinner service. We live in Bloor West Village. My wife, Marta, and I would take our year-and-a-half-old son, Elijah, for a walk down Bloor to the Astra Deli (2238 Bloor St. W.), to pick up deli meats and Polish food. It’s a great family-run place—everything’s made from scratch. I might pick up a schnitzel sandwich for myself and corned beef and pierogies for my son, as well as snacks for my kitchen crew. Then we’d browse through the fruit markets in the area and make our way over to Chapters (2225 Bloor St. W.). The Bloor West location is cool because it’s in the old Runnymede theatre. Elijah would play with Thomas the Tank Engine, and I’d read books like Kurt Timmermeister’s Growing a Farmer, so I can dream about having a farm someday. After heading back to our place, we’d take a walk through High Park to enjoy the nature. We’d go to Barque (299 Roncesvalles Ave.) for brunch, where we always order the hash skillet. Dave, the owner, is cooking really good barbecue over there. We also like Café Polonez (195 Roncesvalles Ave.). They have this huge dish called the Polish Combination Plate, which can feed three people. I’d also stop by my favourite bike shop, Set Me Free (381 Roncesvalles Ave.), to tune up my ’70s Raleigh six-speed. Then I’d pop into Cherry Bomb Coffee (79 Roncesvalles Ave.) to grab an Americano. I’d also check out what’s at the Thin Blue Line cheese shop (93 Roncesvalles Ave.), which is where I get my cheese for Keriwa. I like to support the local shops. After work, the kitchen crew and I would pop over to Parts and Labour (1566 Queen St. W.) to say hi to Chef Matty and have a beer to wrap up the week.

“I take in the nature, browse the markets, tune up my bike and, eventually, head to work”

Bear Robe outside the Thin Blue Line.
Cherry blossoms in High Park.
Barque at brunchtime.

(Images: High park by Emma McIntyre and Barque by Jess Baumung)

  • Julie

    If Aaron says he “like[s] to support the local shops,” maybe he should consider the MULTITUDE of Chapters alternatives on Roncesvalles.

    There are plenty of independent stores including She Said Boom, Another Story Bookshop, A Good Read, etc. Another Story in particular is excellent for showcasing Toronto’s talent in writing.

    Sure, the old Runnymede theater is charming, but that’s me being generous.

  • sugarsugar

    i think he meant something more along the lines of “support the food shops by showcasing their products at his restaurant.” relax julie-who-probably-owns-a-roncy-bookstore

  • Julie

    Wish I owned a Roncy Bookstore.

  • Michael

    Wow Julie! Who craps on how someone likes to spend a saturday? Since were giving unsolicited advice here and telling people what they “should” do…. I’m going to suggest that it’s only ok to tell someone where they “should” shop if they ask where you think they should shop.

  • Johnny D

    I dunno. He did say in the article that he likes to support local shops – and chapters isn’t really a small local shop. And there really ARE great independent bookstores on that strip.

    But I guess it doesn’t matter. Aaron can buy books on if he wants to. Doesn’t make Roncey less awesome on a Saturday afternoon. Check out Gate 403 on Sunday afternoon. No cover, usually a jazz trio with a female vocalist, and just chilled out.

  • Pfft

    Roncy’s great… too bad about the people who frequent/live in the area.
    Nasty, mean and arrogant…. i.e. above posts

  • Jill

    The Roncy neighbourhood is fantastic! It is a community of supportive neighbours and fantastic shops… and, lately, some really spectacular restaurants. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I haven’t tried Keriwa Cafe yet but I have been wanting to since it opened. Hope to get there soon and hope to see Chef Aaron around the hood.

  • Kim

    Aaron Bear Robe lives in my neighbourhood?!!?!? Swoon!!

  • Ought

    If I saw Aaron and his wife Marta in Roncesvalles I would turn and walk away. I once witnessed the most rude treatment of a customer at an event he was a vendor.

  • Ought

    Oh – Marta was behind the table at the event too. Nice bit of yelling and entitlement.