Over the past few months, a stretch of new restaurants have opened along Dundas West that have been offering healthy, grab and go choices. One such place is the Dundas Park Kitchen, which nestled right beside the Belljar Cafe.
I first came into contact with owners Alex Tso and Melanie Harris after they offered up an old espresso machine (on Facebook) from the old Portuguese restaurant they were refurbishing to make their own. My partner ended up obtaining the machine and I tracked the progress of Dundas Park Kitchen via Twitter.
The kitchen and its interior have been completely redone from head to toe. As soon as you step in through the doors, you are greeted by an open seating with beautiful wood (which Melanie tells me wasn’t reclaimed but rather claimed and made into the furniture now seen in the space) seating and benches. Looking up, you’ll note the open kitchen with the workers dutifully working on everything from preserves to sandwiches to chickens.
When Yuli and I stopped in one Friday evening, Melanie sat down to tell us about the shop opening and told us, “We always had the idea to open up a restaurant in this area. So we gutted the entire space and kind of built this place organically. It took us three years, as we had a baby in that time. But our original plan was to have a small sit-down restaurant and then we realized the area was lacking something, good quality take over”. Thus, Melanie and Alex changed their plan and Dundas Park Kitchen was born.
Upon first entrance you’re greeting with a huge chalkboard of sandwich, soup, salad and quiche choices. Melanie mentions to us that they visit the Wychwood Barns Farmers Markets very regularly and try to change their soups/quiches/salads seasonal, while still keeping prices reasonable. They do a very good job in doing so. Each item ranges in price from $5.50-$13 in their soup, sandwich, quiche and salad line.
Throughout the evening of being there, many frequent regulars and new locals trickle into the spot for one of their top sellers: the Roasted Chicken dinner. The Roasted Chicken dinner is available for $25 ($15 for a half chicken) and could be quite possibly their best deal. From 5–7 p.m. Monday to Friday, you can obtain a golden skinned chicken with two side dishes. Not half bad! When I ask Melanie where they came up with the idea, she tells me that: “We thought about what families would eat for dinner in this area and what they use to serve up in the Portuguese restaurant prior. We thought we would stick true to those roots.”
Melanie saddled us up to their most popular sandwich (next to the Meatloaf Sandwich, which sells at $10.75), the All Day Breakfast sandwich. It was packed with pork sausage, cheddar, organic corn relish and grainy mustard. At the price point of $7.50, the sandwich was delicious and not at all heavy. The corn relish also gave it the extra little pop that it needed.
If you were looking something to take on your sweet tooth, they have that covered as well. Some of my recommendations would be the Sweet & Salty Sandwich Cookie and the Chocolate Chip Pretzel Cookie, both at the pricepoint of $1.50 and baked in-house by Melanie (a former pastry chef). Melanie tells us that their Sour Cherry Gillettes are some of their most popular items along with their Orange Creamscile Macaroons, selling at the price point of $2.25.
So if its snacks or something hearty you are looking for, both Melanie & Alex are welcoming you into their Kitchen for great cooked food.Tags: Alex Tso, bakery, burger, chefs, Chicken, Cookies, Dundas Park Kitchen, dundas west, DuWest, Farmer's Market, fat babe, fat girl food squad, food, food photos, local, Macarons, Macaroons, Melanie Harris, pastry, Portuguese, Quiche, Salad, Sandwiches, Soup, Sour Cherry, the stop, The Stop Community Food Center, toronto, where to eat in toronto, Wychwood, Wychwood Barns