If you’re looking to enjoy a fun night out in the heart of downtown Kitchener may I suggest visiting the city’s popular Louisiana-style watering hole Grand Trunk Saloon? The dimly lit dining room serves up finger-licking-good soul food, expertly crafted cocktails and lively folk music into the wee hours of the eve.
The restaurant’s name was inspired by the Grand Trunk Railway, which connected Toronto and Montreal in the years prior to confederation. The railway also helped to build Kitchener and the surrounding areas when it arrived in 1856, making it an important part of the cultural history of the region.
The Grand Trunk Saloon was founded by Darryl Haus (owner of the Hogtails Barbeque) and Manish Patel (the man behind the Fo’Cheezy grilled cheese food truck). It’s first and foremost a cocktail bar, serving up dry, sweet and bold libations. Thankfully it also has a quirky kitchen offering southern inspired comfort food – those hearty and rich dishes sop up the spirits so you can make it through the evening without falling flat on your back. For cocktail fans used to forking out 20 dollars for a drink in Toronto the $10-12 dollar price tag on each of the bars signature drinks (2 oz pours ya’ll) feels like you can really kick back on your holiday.
While slowly sipping in the saloon enjoy a splash of tequila set aflame over a bowl of chorizo and cheese, spoon through a steaming bowl of octopus and grits, and savagely devour the sausage gravy slathered Chicken & Waffles. Plan to pop by on a Wednesday evening and you’ll find yourself losing your martini and slapping your spoons as local troup Onion Honey play mandolin, banjo and washboard accompanied by folk-style croons.
Purple Finch | hendrick’s gin, black vermut, lavender, greek yogurt
Coffee & Cigarettes | makers mark bourbon, coffee vermouth, averna amaro, tobacco bitters, cherry bounce
Secretariat | pecan vodka, dillon’s rose gin, sake, lemon, grenadine
Chorizo Flameado | chorizo sausage, queso & tequila dip, nachos
Octopus & Grits | braised octopus, house ground hominy grits, tasso ham, pickled chili, okra, tomato
Chicken & Waffles | buttermilk fried chicken, collards, waffles, white sausage gravy
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