Tennessee Tavern Brings Plump Pierogies to Parkdale

I first moved to Toronto at the end of a cool November in 2010. I called an old mansion on Maynard home sweet home, waking up each morning to the sound of the King Streetcar whizzing past No Frills.

I arrived in Parkdale just as Toronto was beginning to rave for the up-and-coming west end neighbourhood. Coriander Girl had just opened her first flower shop, late into the night Wrong Bar was always right, and rowdy fine dining fans splashed outside the street at Parts & Labour. What a time to be alive!

A lot can happen in seven years. Walking through the neighbourhood now you’ll find a happy harmony of old meets new. Antique shops, family run corner stores and iconic eateries like The Rhino keep busy while a parade of some of Toronto’s most buzzed about restaurants have moved in to serve tacos (Grand Electric), Brazilian treats (Mata Petisco Bar), Polynesian pleasantries (Miss Thing’s) and damn good BBQ (Electric Mud).

Parkdale’s newest neighbour Tennessee Tavern, is the latest from Grant Van Gameren, the chef who manages to turn all of his food fantasies into gold (Bar Isabel, Bar Raval, El Rey Mezcal Bar). His team recently transformed a historic Parkdale tavern into a quirky meets kitschy restaurant which celebrates the flavours of Eastern Europe.

For years I’ve been bemoaning Toronto’s lack of Eastern European eateries, planning a pilgrimage every few months to Country Style Hungarian on Bloor for my fix of schnitzel and spätzle. It seems like plump pierogies, juicy pickles, sizzling sausage and sour cream slathered cabbage rolls are finally becoming more mainstream.

Pop open the door at Tennessee Tavern and you’ll find a massive bar serving rakija and rose and a spacious dining room finessed with old Americana eagles frozen in time via glossy garage sale ceramics and quiet taxidermied forest frolickers. The back patio is a pleasant escape from the hustle and bustle of Queen Street, a petite oasis featuring a massive bird cage and sausage munching Pac-Man.

One should throw their calorie counter over the fence before grabbing a seat to suss out the menu. The kitchen offers a colourful tour of Europe’s best east end eats which will likely take a few visits to taste your way through. Highlights include plump pierogies, gargantuan cabbage rolls, radamer cheese topped spatzle, basket of fried mixed sausages served with mustard and mushroom cream topped jagerschnitzel.

Mixed Sausage with Mustard



Cabbage Rolls


Apricot Sour Cream Cake with Walnut Strudel

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