Bill and Amy Wesolowski were no strangers to barbecue when they opened their restaurant. After all, they'd been grilling up mountainous platters of ribs, pulled pork, and grilled chicken at local parties and special events since 2008. Within their cheerful, sunlit joint, the seasoned caterers and skilled barbecue chefs whip up their signature dishes, along with southern-style sides of barbecue beans, collard greens, and coleslaw. The duo even accommodates vegetarians with meat-free menu selections, unlike other barbecue venues that require vegetarians to wear an itchy wreath of string beans around their necks. Plates pair with bottles of beer as they sit atop the white-cloth tables of the casual dining room, where colorful photographs and drawings of jazz instruments adorn the walls.
The smell of fresh-baked bread is ever-present at Artisano Bakery Cafes. Thousands of loaves are handcrafted each and every morning here, and you can enjoy them with a coffee and a variety of other fresh, healthy foods. From ciabatta to nordico to fig and walnut loaf, the café’s 25 bread varieties match nicely with its selection of freshly sliced meats and cheeses to form gourmet sandwiches, paninis, and makeshift forts. The selection of meal items also includes made-to-order signature salads, as well as pasta and pizza that follow family recipes. Artisano emphasizes healthy ingredients and preparation, using fresh meats and herbs and extra-virgin olive oil and eschewing deep frying for in-house baking and grilling.
CJs Cafe in Bronte calls people to gather together. They gather at arts events, such as live music performances, authors' readings, craft-making lessons. They gather to admire the ever-changing art on the walls, made by local artists and lending a whimsical air to the high-ceilinged, cozy space. They gather to break bread, choosing from a menu of healthy sandwiches, salads, and wraps, including options for those who eat vegan or gluten-free. They gather over steaming cups of organic fair-trade espresso, made the old-fashioned way, with a pull-method machine, rather than the more modern method of squeezing beans with a vise.
Garnering praise from the Toronto Star, Sweetsmoke Barbecue and Grill crowns its menu with grain-fed, naturally raised meats barbecued in a three-step process that includes a slow cook in a wood smoker. Diners can choose main plates such as pulled pork ($15.00), hickory smoked side ribs ($14.50+), and shaved turkey breast ($15.00), each accompanied by coleslaw and iron kettle cowboy beans in a Stetson–shaped bowl. Sandwiches, including the grilled portobello mushroom melt ($8.50), give the menu a kick from warmer climes, stacking arugula, oven-dried tomatoes, grilled red onion, gruyere cheese, and guajillo aioli on rosemary focaccia. Sweetsmoke's team includes a Cordon Bleu–trained pastry chef who crafts confections such as the cake and shake ($6.50) that pairs a blackout cake and dark-chocolate pudding with a vanilla-bean milkshake.
Rolly Rocket's BBQ serves southern BBQ straight from their wood smoker in a casual, family-friendly atmosphere. The menu of 24-hour rub-marinated and wood-smoked delights includes slow smoked chicken wings, piles of succulent pulled pork, a variety of racktastic ribs, smoked chicken, as well as homemade deserts. These large portioned plates are often paired with a house recipe BBQ sauce to seal the flavour deal and give diners an excuse to finger paint the walls with their resulting saucy phalanges. Lunch options include corn dogs and sandwiches stuffed with pulled chicken, pulled pork, and non-pulled beef brisket. Spiced specialties can be washed down with a selection of beers and other libations. To up the entertainment ante, Rolly Rocket's has recently installed multiple 50' inch TVs and acquired a premium sports package to make sure no rib nibblers miss a single game. Additionally, nightly events, including live music, make for melodious memories.