So many options, so little time: there is undoubtedly no shortage of restaurants and pubs to frequent in the Village. Known best for its social and energetic atmosphere, the Church Street strip is jam-packed with places to kick back, have a drink and chow down with friends. Xtra took a stroll through the Village and checked out the best places to grab nachos and a beer within a six-block radius.
In with the new
With the Village constantly growing and changing, it comes as no surprise that new food vendors continue to pop up along Church Street. Take Big Johnson’s, the latest addition to the slew of bar-and-grill-type restaurants located near Church and Maitland. Owner Keith Jalbert promises competitive prices on food and drink in comparison to the strip’s established venues. For those looking for the familiar, O’Grady’s and the Churchmouse & Firkin remain classic.
If you’re on a budget, look no further than Hair of the Dog, on the corner of Church and Wood streets, or Big Johnson’s. Both serve up a pint and a platter of nachos for just less than $17. But if you have change to spare, be sure to check out O’Grady’s or Spirits for the most nacho toppings.
All things beer
Church Street venues are serious about their beer. In keeping with local trends, many are serving up organic beer, including Mick E Fynn’s on Carlton, dubbed a “campus pub” for neighbouring Ryerson University students. Though served sparingly, you’ll find craft beers, like Flying Monkeys, on tap at the Church St Diner and the Vic Public House.
But if you’re looking for something locally brewed, good luck. The closest you’ll find to a local beer is Hair of the Dog’s “special” lager, which, we’re told, is just a fancy disguise for Pabst Blue Ribbon on draft.
Go veg or go home
Good news for vegetarians: most nacho platters sold on Church are served without meat. Hair of the Dog and Lola’s Kitchen also offer tofu options.
Bad news for meat-lovers: adding meat to your platter will cost you, but with a wide variety of toppings to try — from pork to chicken to Cajun beef at venues like Spirits — it’s worth the extra cash.
We recommend: Hair of the Dog, at 425 Church St, and Big Johnson’s, at 477 Church St.
For a map of Church Street’s best beer and nacho spots, pick up the latest issue of Xtra.