Harry's Charbroil, Toronto

What could possibly make me schlep all the way to Parkdale to 160 Springhurst Avenue for a burger? News that it was now owned by Grant Van Gameren, once the amazing chef of the Black Hoof, and now of Bar Raval and Bar Isabel.

Harry’s Char Broil & Dining Lounge is like stepping back in time, I felt I was entering a greasy spoon from the 60’s, with jukeboxes at every booth, sports and beer knick knacks, stuffed animal heads, mounted fish, twinkle lights and loud music, it really felt like a time warp. The original Harry’s dining lounge closed back in August 2016, after 48 years as a neighbourhood institution. I am sure that the neighbours are thrilled that this spot has been resurrected and improved. The upgrades are only modest as they wanted to preserve the integrity of the original place. The interior looks like it was untouched, with the exception of a few large screen TVs and upgrading some kitchen equipment. The music is still from that era as well. It is an odd move from such a prominent chef, but he used to live up the street and frequent the place.

Nate Young is at the helm here. He used to be the sous chef at Grace restaurant on College Street. They still sell burgers, fries, and eggs, but nothing is frozen, proportioned or pre-cooked. Young brines his own peameal bacon and makes his own red and green chorizo burgers. He also makes a great hormone-free skirt steak with fries. The most expensive item on the menu is $18. When you figure a drink at Bar Raval will set you back $16, you realize how well-priced the food really is. There is grilled cheese with ham, cheese and jalapeños, eggplant sandwiches, chicken on a bun and of course a variety of burgers. They also have a breakfast menu, with things like eggs, corn beef hash, omelettes and steak and eggs. I went for the Plain-Jane beef burger. I added a fried egg for $1, and a side of avocado for $2. It came with excellent thick cut golden hand-cut fries. All in it was $15.50 – still a relative bargain for a good burger. The burgers come served in a classic red basket with a checkered wrap. They also make freshly made milkshakes here. There is a small booze list, red and white wine, a couple of simple cocktails and a few beer selections as well. They offer one dessert that changes. It was a chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream for us. Like stepping back in time.

The bad news is, if the owners of the building decide to tear down the building to redevelop the area, the restaurant will have to go with it … all in the name of progress …

Parking is free in the back.


Happy dining,

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