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The Hogtown Cure

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / Posted on December 21, 2012

hogtown cure torontoThe Hogtown Cure opened up last week, following a whirlwind construction schedule, and it's a prime location for a shop that dubs itself a deli and cafe (with deli standing for delicious). With both the Dundas streetcar and Dufferin bus stopping outside its corner spot, they've already enjoyed swells of clientele.

hogtown cure torontoThe work of Steve Ireson (former GM at a slew of nightclubs including Circa) and his husband Chris (formerly of Evergreen Garden Market), the new spot offers options for take-away, but the space itself (accented by warm wood, splashes of greenery, and rustic touches) is inviting, and a coveted spot by the window bar makes for perfect afternoon people-watching.

hogtown cure torontoThe model of the shop is something of a catch-all. There's a coffee and pastry nook (with an assortment of pastries from de la terre, espresso from 23 Degrees and drip coffee from ChocoSol). Kitty corner to it is a deli counter, sporting a decent selection of Monforte cheeses, bacon pork chops from This Little Pig, Mennonite summer sausage, and eggs from an independent Ontario farmer. Between the two of them, the owners have developed relationships with many independent retailers, which now affords them the option to pick and choose their favourites to showcase.

hogtown cure torontoYou'll also find jarred preserves from Mennonite farmers (Kountry Kitchen Cupboard)--pickles go for $5.49, and jams ring in under $5. Hogtown Cure sells bags of its espresso and drip coffee, as well as chocolate in an array of flavours from ChocoSol ($5.99), pre-packaged sweets from de la terre, and teas from Whole World.

hogtown cure torontoI start with a cappuccino ($4.25 for a medium), and the Mugshot espresso blend is an instant stand-out. Rich, strong, and subtly flavored, I indelicately chug it--and only after realize that it fared beautifully even without my usual teaspoon of sugar.

hogtown cure torontoBy the afternoon, there's just one pre-packaged sandwich left (free-range chicken salad with roasted garlic mayo), but they also offer hot, made-to-order sandwiches. I try their grilled cheese ($7.99)--a blend of garlic-tinged cheddar and pears that comes with what I'd wager is a fruit-based salsa. On a first bite, I'm not won over by the sweet-and-savory blend (the snap of sour green apple wedges might've fared better) but it grows on me. The sandwiches are on the small side (particularly for $8), but they're just enough to fill you up, particularly when paired with their side of fresh, tart coleslaw and a halved pickle.

hogtown cure torontoI finish with a cinnamon raisin monkey's paw ($2.99), which is a cross between a donut and cinnamon roll, speckled with moist raisins, then lightly glazed. I mostly picked around the sad, neglected portions of the pastry that lack either raisins or glaze, as they're somewhat dry.

hogtown cure torontoAdmittedly, I was expecting meat-heavy dishes from a shop with Hogtown in the name, and am surprised to find that the other hot sandwich on offer is a smoked tofu and grilled vegetable sandwich (also $7.99), but I'm told they've just installed their smoker, and expect to focus a bit more on meat in the coming months. Also in the works is a whole prepared foods section, including plans for self-serve refrigerated meals in the new year.

hogtown cure torontoThere you have it. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, and your coffee breaks--all under one roof.



geoff / December 21, 2012 at 03:07 pm
"Dundas bus and Dufferin street car"?
Dick / December 21, 2012 at 03:46 pm
The coffee is horendous, dessert was great though,
annakarenina / December 21, 2012 at 05:29 pm
looove this place. been waiting for it for a while
mungo / December 21, 2012 at 05:48 pm
oh awesome most coffee on dundas west
John / December 21, 2012 at 07:05 pm
Avoid the cappuccinos
Melissa / December 21, 2012 at 11:00 pm
I will never go back again, espresso was terrible, staff was really friend. They must buy a new coffee machine ASAP
Sarah / December 21, 2012 at 11:21 pm
Found a hair in my bagel
Avid / December 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm
Worst coffee period
Smileyrogers / December 22, 2012 at 03:25 am
I now know not to try this place, sticking to my Starbucks
Tim / December 22, 2012 at 03:27 am
Wowwwwwwww is it really as bad as everyone make it sound
maria / December 22, 2012 at 09:51 am
The drip was bad, but the girl said they're trying to find the right coffee for their drip. I complained and she made me an americano for free which was delicious
steve / December 22, 2012 at 11:49 am
Hey there - we are just on day 4 of being fully open so we're still working out the kinks. Please bear with us as we fine tuning the grinds and measures. Your feedback is really important to us, so we appreciate your comments. Cheers! ~steve

steve / December 22, 2012 at 12:31 pm
That's funny because we don't actually sell bagels at the moment... We are however looking for a good bagel supplier, so if anyone has any recommendations, please let me know. Cheers! ~Steve
LA / December 22, 2012 at 02:38 pm
Though a nice little cafe is a welcome addition to the neighbourhood, I am even more excited about the prospect of a decent deli!! I don't buy factory-farmed meat, so I don't buy meat from No Frills, Multiple Organics only carries Beretta, which I am never impressed with the quality of, and I can't always get to the Farmer's Markets on time to get my local meat! I can't wait to have a decent deli nearby. Welcome to the 'hood!!
Chris Drew / December 23, 2012 at 12:04 pm
I was there on Friday and it was great. My colleague and I had the coffee and both enjoyed it. We drink a lot of coffee so we know a good coffee when we taste it. I also had a sandwich and it was delicious. Steve and Chris did an excellent job restoring the historic interior!
Gregory / December 24, 2012 at 11:26 am
Living on Dundas&Dufferin I've been waiting for this place to open. But Yes, the coffee tastes like shit. There was'nt enough meat in my pre sandwich either. In time though, this place should shape up to be a good spot.
Turtle / December 24, 2012 at 02:37 pm
Wishing them the best. I don't know the food industry, but just before Christmas, heading into the duldrums of winter, doesn't seem to be the best timing to open a shop.

Also, Rashers, , just opened in the East end. Is bacon the trendy food now? I love it, but that's a lot of pressure to put on salt cured pig flesh.

Will try it some time.
Victoria / December 27, 2012 at 11:18 am
The sandwiches are to die for! Also tried 3 or 4 different coffees and they were all excellent!
Wonderful, friendly staff!
Michel F. Pare / December 27, 2012 at 03:35 pm
I was there last Friday Dec 21. The regular coffee was good. Had a sandwich which was more like a crumpet, too chewy for my taste, there was a dollop of meat the size of a quarter, water cress, blue cheese, slice of apple and raw potatoes (Uck) Forget the raw potatoes and a Gingerbread man. $12. I did buy the homemade blueberry Jam (250ml) $$.49 and Raw Honey (500g) for $7.99 a better deal than lunch. Not sure which owner I spoke too for friendly chat. I don't move in the same circles as DJ Denise Benson (With friend) who was also there for lunch. Over all, the place bright and cheery, selection and prices need to come down, if they are to attact the Portuguese community regulars. ** Two stars. For now I will continue eating at Brazil Cafe and Bakery, 1554 Dundas Street West and go back to Hogtown in six months maybe.
Sarah2 replying to a comment from Sarah / December 29, 2012 at 04:02 pm
Haha. You got caught! They don't even have bagels. I always thought a lot of commenters on blogto were just mean trolls but this one proves it. How amusing
annakarenina replying to a comment from Sarah2 / December 30, 2012 at 09:50 am
I know! I will never understand why someone would post a bad review when they clearly have never even been to the store. So dry.
Hogtown Pure / December 31, 2012 at 01:50 am
I've been avoiding blogTO for a while but showed up to see the review of this new spot in my neighbourhood. I am shocked by how awful this review is.

Why is the first sentence so awkward? Why do so many sentences have portions in brackets?

And is it a review? An introduction?

And why when I'm using the iPad app, and I want to comment, does it direct me to the site, where I'm encouraged to use the iPad app, which I am using, to view the site, that is being displayed in the app, which is telling me to use the app, which is telling me to use the app, which is showing an ad for the app I am using, to view the site, to make a comment, about how annoying blogTO has become?

And the comments are rude, lame, and useless. What point do the comments on a site like this have other than to drive traffic?
ginette / December 31, 2012 at 01:29 pm
I am really enjoying this place ! As someone who lives in this neighbourhood I'd been waiting a while to see this place open and although I've only tried a few sandwiches, the coffee, and jarred pickles, I haven't been disappointed yet.

I thought the grilled cheese with pear was so excellent, I've ordered it three times. The third go though it was suggested to me by a friendly staffer to try it with pickled onions and bacon and I enthusiastically said 'YES'. It was delicious !

Their pulled pork sandwich was really tasty too. I grabbed it to go, and was a tiny bit disappointed though that it didn't come with a slice of pickle and salad as most of their sandwiches seem to do when you sit in.
stevieb replying to a comment from Michel F. Pare / January 2, 2013 at 11:52 am
umm, im pretty sure the "raw potato" which you speak of was in fact bosch pear... hehe
Michel / January 2, 2013 at 02:12 pm
umm, im pretty sure the "raw potato" which you speak of was in fact bosch pear... hehe

Stevie; whatever it was it looked like a potatoes with skin and had potato taste and was awful and is the humour in awful. When a venue owner refuses to apologize it speaks volumes, about a customers not returning.
david / January 2, 2013 at 02:33 pm
that Michel F pare guy is such a shit disturber
Chris replying to a comment from Sarah / January 2, 2013 at 03:27 pm
Busted. They don't even serve bagels. It appears you are either a disgruntled ex of one of the owners or just a bitch.
Chris replying to a comment from Michel / January 2, 2013 at 03:31 pm
Hey Michel. The StevieB guy on here isn't the owner (whose last name starts with an I... you'll notice Blog TO also uses a different colour for owners and staff of the establishment.
stevieb / January 2, 2013 at 10:30 pm
ummm, im DEFINITELY not the owner....
and now that you mention it, youre obviously a friend of or from Brazil Cafe since you even added the street address . take it easy bro, i just liked the sandwich and was pointing out that it was probably brown skinned pear and not raw potato. hahahaha.. wow.
al / January 4, 2013 at 03:43 pm
definitively disappointed in the sandwiches. was excited, given the word hogtown, to try these but the only thing they have meaty on the menu was pulled pork, kind of a cop out, and it was a bit chewy...seemed old. there was a sandwich special that day, which was peameal, but all i could taste was old cheddar and dijon. there was one very, very thin slice of peameal, and i noticed that i was given tomato slices that were from the from the outside parts, i.e. all skin, which i thought was weird. they have some nice flavours, both breads i tried were good, but put some meat in your sandwiches! watch an episode of diners, drive-ins and dives. never seen him go to a spot that puts one thin slice of meat in their sandwiches. and more choices please!!!
andy / January 6, 2013 at 02:48 pm
really great quality of food and good selection from the deli counter.

my gripe however is with the general service and organization. i understand they are new and will be working things out but as a customer i dont want that pointed out to me each visit. additionally, i dont want to be upsold. each time ive been in they have been trying to upsell items and add ons in a way that feels very mcdonalds to me.
Concerned / January 19, 2013 at 10:41 pm
I ordered soup, the short blonde chick at the counter tasted it, and put the spoon back in the kettle, 3 times. GROSS.
Turtle / January 25, 2013 at 12:52 pm
I've been twice now. Consistancy seems to be the problem. First time, the owner was very nice. Peameal sandwich was good but overpriced for the size. Coffee was fine.

Second time, the staff member was disinterested (bad hair day?). Coconut curry soup was very overseasoned (most likely sitting on the heat too long). After seeing Concerned's comment, I'm not getting the soup ever again. Again coffee was fine.

I don't live on the west end, but have lunch with a client at Dufferin & Dundas regularly. I won't be taking her here until all the wrinkle are ironed out. Will try them again in 6 months, but not before.
SoOverIt / June 12, 2013 at 05:11 pm
I keep trying to give this place a chance but I think I'm done with it. There always seems to be some problem: waited far too long for a take-out order, had burnt coffee, forgot the veggies in my veggie wrap, sold me something on the menu that they were out of. I want to support this neighbourhood business them but they are making it very difficult.
Vaclav / December 8, 2014 at 07:02 pm
Been there a few times. Love it. Great food and decent service. The sandwiches are real good and the meat is fantastic.

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