Though he wouldn’t jump to calling Toronto a “cool” city (despite our dropping temperatures), Michael Pataran, chef and co-owner of Cool City Oyster Yard, thinks differently about his Sudbury Street restaurant. What opened as a pop-up summer patio will now service the oyster sucking, wine and sake sipping community year round.
Flanking the eastern front of the multipurpose complex at 99 Sudbury, I approached to the smell of burning firewood and fragrant rice. Stirring his novelty sized 6-foot paella pan with a utensil more akin to an oar than a wooden spoon, Chef Pataran tossed spices into the air as if it were a ceremony rather than a seasoning. Though the ‘party-pan’ will shut down once winter comes, Paellapalooza will be pumping out five different types of the Spanish staple on Sundays from 5pm to 9pm.
The al fresco lounge will play host to a variety of cool weekly events, keeping guests warm and sheltered under the weatherproof roof and inviting heat lamps. Sidle up along one of their long, wooden bars, or grab a table and chill out for some “Bourbon n’ Blues” every Friday from 7pm to 11pm. Marc Gantakos of the Marcus Trio will tear it up on the slide guitar alongside bassist Ian de Souza – after hearing them throw down only days ago, I just might find myself there more often.
Pair great tunes and a comfortable room with heaps of seasonal oysters and a power punch of a seafood filled menu. Their offerings range from popcorn prawns and crayfish to salmon tartare and grilled octopus, all the way to the luscious lobster club and oyster po’boy.
I’m anxious to sip my way through their many varietals of local and Japanese sake – the Izumi family of local Toronto brewed spirits topping the list – and slog my way through their 15 types of bottled and draft beer. After all, what’s an oyster party without a few adult beverages!
No matter the season, it would seem as though the oysters will be shucked, the libations will flow and the scene will continue to heat up, at what’s become one of the most popular patios in the city, Cool City Oyster Yard.