The Berczy Tavern brings new life to an old restaurant space

Kateryna Topol –

The intersection of Front and Church Streets is home to a few stunning heritage buildings, one of which for many years housed the restaurant Le Papillon. Chef Michael Angeloni used to fre­quent Le Papillon as a student. “I’ve always loved this build­ing,” he reflected fondly.

When the space came up for sale, Chef Michael and his part­ners, Adam Teolis, and Yannick Bigourdan, jumped at the op­portunity. The trio already own a bar-restaurant combo, Amano Trattoria and Bar Notte, around the corner.

The neighbourhood’s first introduction to The Berczy Tavern was boldly noticeable window signage. With Berczy Park nearby, named after Toron­to co-founder William Berczy, the name identified the new restaurant directly with the community.

The tavern has undergone major renovations, carefully respecting the heritage of the building. “We wanted to give the restaurant a sense of place,” Adam Teolis commented. The design blends elements of old and new with walnut and black marble, brass detailing, and traditional tavern elements like long banquettes.

The space itself is quite deep. At the back is a formal dining room, refined but approachable. Upon entry, the patrons will be greeted by a majestic marble bar 12 feet wide and 20 feet tall, this accent wall alone a work of art. To the side of the bar is a grand piano with mixed seating filling the rest of the room.

The bar is open all day and serves lunch, brunch and shar­able plates in a high-energy en­vironment. The food menu is contemporary North American blended with Mediterranean, inspired by Chef Angeloni’s heritage and the diversity of the city. Snackable favourites in­clude crab cakes, grilled oysters and lobster rolls. Larger dishes like octopus and a quarter rack of lamb are served as sharable plates.

The beverage selection is similarly international, with 50 or more wine labels, local and foreign beers, a cocktail menu (modern twist on classical and some team-built creations), and a whisky corner.

On the weekend the energy will pick up a notch with live lo­cal music talent, from 9:30 p.m. on. “We would love to do live music every night,” admitted Teolis, “but need to see if there is demand for it.”

Come for brunch, find a quiet corner for a romantic dinner or family celebration in the dining room, stay late for live music or pop in for a hearty lunch. “We really want The Berczy to be a place for both the local commu­nity and the city overall,” Teolis said.

Whichever patron path you choose, this just might be your new favourite local.

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