The newest feather in Jeff Stober’s fedora has just opened on Sterling Road, near Bloor and Lansdowne. Overhauling an old ketchup factory and converting the building into a space for The Drake’s production kitchen, catering team and ambitiously, a bar, restaurant and take away too, Stober has once again carved a diamond out of the rough with Drake Commissary, putting the gent in gentrification and kicking off the start of very exciting things for this pocket in the Junction neighbourhood.
Retail also plays into this, with bottled PEC maple syrup on display and cold case fridges displaying house made charcuterie. It’s also a mini purveyor of Drake-stamped gourmet goods, covering you from morning grab-and-go coffee and ladies lunching (major stroller posses in effect) to late night eats and boozy cocktails.
Branching away from his hipster hangout origins, Drake Commissary has a distinct industrial/rec room vibe. Green Mad Men-esque loungers and 60’s style furnishings give way to the dining area, flanked by food service counters, a bar and an open kitchen, which is a graciously covered floor to ceiling in glass, giving diners that chef’s table experience without the racket of a 5,000-square-foot kitchen.
Always with his finger on the pulse, Jeff opted in on this area knowing that arty mecca MOCA was soon coming to this part of town. Engaging creatives and seemingly having a crystal ball in his pocket, Jeff Stober has curated more than just a place to open your wallet; it’s warm, it’s eclectic and it’s very comfortable, with banquette and mod lounger chairs echoing the stay and play vibe. Designed by longtime collaborator John Tong of +tongtong, the space screams art gallery, with large murals and installations covering every wall in the space.
Making pasta, bread, charcuterie in house, and servicing all the Drake properties is no small feat. Channeling the art on the wall, food is pretty and plated with care, like the dressed-up Miso Cauliflower ($9). Presented with cashews and cilantro leaves, the cauliflower is an umami bomb in the best ways; heady black garlic and salty parmesan make this dish sing.
Chilli Spiced Carrots and Rapini ($9) are tender, well-seasoned and pair well together with the open faced Pickled Herring ($7) with chunky beets, cream and fresh dill.
With Chef Ted Corrado helming the kitchen and Jonas Grupiljonas managing day-to-day, the food has been flying out of the kitchen – clearly The Drake is known for more than just their pretty face. With a 40-foot patio flanking the exterior, this new commissary is kicking off the summer season with a Stober-style bang.
The Drake Commissary is open 7 days a week from early morning to late night.
Have you been to Drake Commissary yet? What did you think of the new spot? Let us know in the comment section or tweet us at @ViewtheVibe.