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The Steady

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on September 5, 2013 / review policy

The SteadyThe Steady is open near Bloor and Dufferin, doing double duty as a weekend brunch spot and a dancehall and event hotspot by night. Taking over the space from Ethiopian restaurant Queen of Sheba, the eatery and bar plays host to dance parties, comedy events, book launches, live music, and more while the kitchen is helmed by co-owner Vanessa Robak, ex-Hogtown Vegan chef.

Co-owner and barkeep Keaton Taylor is disarmingly friendly. The space's decor takes cues from Taylor's South Beach roots featuring deco-inspired geometric colour blocks in sherbet hues and flamingo motifs. The front room is cozy, offering cafe seating opposite the bar while in the back there is a spacious dining room that's easily converted to a dance floor.

the Steady TorontoFor desserts and snacks the Steady focuses on donuts (3 for $6) made fresh in house daily, with exotic flavours that change weekly (follow them on Instagram for updates). At least one gluten free variety is baked each day. Flavours seldom repeat but have included hot buttered rum and absinthe candy apple. While they've become a brunch staple, donuts are also often available for munching at night.

The brunch menu also lists spins on comfort fare such as their Eggs Teddy ($14) with crab cakes, garlic-y spinach, and chipotle holendaise, Biscuits and Gravy ($13) (styled after Taylor's mother's own recipe), and the Southern Skillet ($13), an American style served-in-a-skillet hash fry up with roasted vegetables, shredded potatoes, cheese, and eggs. Robak dedicates equal attention to meat eaters and vegans alike and bills her offerings as casual, Miami-inspired dishes peppered with Cuban accents.

The SteadyThe cocktail list is concise, billing just a select few signature drinks. Best sellers include their Old Fashioned Lovesong ($10), Lapsang Souchong black tea infused spiced whisky with cherry bitters, and the Unsteady ($7), a concoction of rye, grapefruit, tangerine, orange, and lemon juice.

Bar events are varied: you might see drag queens hosting karaoke one night, bring-your-own-record the next, then a full on sweaty dance party like Blood, Sweat & Queers or Essence Brown - the sizable back room and sound system makes for one of the handiest event spaces in the neighbourhood.

The Steady is open evenings Wednesday to Saturday (find full event listings on their website), with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays.

The SteadyPhotos by Jesse Milns



John Labatt / September 5, 2013 at 01:31 pm
Looks like one of the better Queer Friendly restaurants. I will have to check this place out.
pierre gagne / September 5, 2013 at 01:48 pm
stopped in for a coffee the other day - it is to die for !
Elle / September 5, 2013 at 02:30 pm
This place is absolutely amazing from the food to the vibe to the events to the people who work there. The fact that it caters to vegans and meat-lovers means that no one is left out and I can strongly vouch for the tastiness of the vegan food - some of the best I've had in Toronto!
jameson / September 6, 2013 at 12:13 pm
Nice to see a coffee shop open next door to hollow ground. could be a nice spot to grab a bite while killing 2 hours for a haircut
Britt / September 6, 2013 at 10:54 pm
Awesome spot love the food it's sooo good
discerning queer / September 7, 2013 at 11:18 am
I stopped in at the Steady a couple of weeks ago to grab a drink with a friend. Hoping to support local business and my community, I was genuinely excited to try the place out. I really hate to say this because I wanted to enjoy myself, but the wine and atmosphere/service were absolutely awful. First of all our server couldn't remember the wines and was not particularly interested in attempting to, second of all YELLOW TAIL was his go to recommendation for a red. Now at $6 a glass prices I'm willing to make a few concessions but the Bear Flag we ended up ordering was the worst wine I've ever been served in a restaurant.

You can't just slap some aqua blue paint on the walls, pick a few half-assed drinks and expect the community to flock to you because you're open for business. There are far too many solid cafes and bars in our neighbourhood to make such little effort.

The Steady Cafe replying to a comment from discerning queer / September 9, 2013 at 04:20 pm
Thanks to everyone for all the lovely comments!

Discerning Queer: We're sorry about your experience regarding the wine. We have a bigger vision with our wine offering that we've JUST rolled out which is BYOW from Wed-Fri for only $5! In the interim, we have been testing a couple different approaches to the wine list to see what works best. We appreciate your feedback! There are always some kinks to work out in the beginning. Please bring in your favourite bottle sometime and try us again.
Matt / September 9, 2013 at 05:10 pm
Came here a couple times. Finally, finally, finally a great queer establishment that can call itself truly mixed, inclusive, and has a super friendly atmosphere. Theres a great vegan selection, and no ones ever gone out of their way so much to make my coffee to my own taste! Came for a dance party as well and the music was great and the crowd was for once a good mix, and not dominated by gay men, which was refreshing to see.
susan / September 9, 2013 at 06:25 pm
Any gluten free options?
DJ replying to a comment from discerning queer / September 30, 2013 at 10:27 am
Did you expect 5-star service at $6/glass?
Meggy / October 26, 2013 at 09:07 pm
Came in to try one of the many new restaurants near my house. I was very excited to try this place out and to see that it was so close -- was really hoping it would be a favourite. We tried an app, and a blend of vegan/meaty dishes. To be honest, it wasn't special.

The Vegan Sloppy Joe tasted like jarred tomato sauce blended with tofu and veg. The vegan burrito was pretty pathetic. Very little flavour and flat. While the enchiladas had a kick -- that was it. No real flavours other then spicy.

On to the next one I guess.
Jen / November 4, 2013 at 10:04 am
Had brunch here the other day and will not be going back. 25 minutes after ordering our meal the waitress tells us the eggs teddy we ordered has run out. You would think they would know this earlier and notify the guests. It takes them another 15 minutes for our food to come. We were starving by the time our food came. My friend and I both got the skillet. The sausage was burnt and tasteless, and everything was covered in cheese grease. The waitress was not attentive. She gave us the wrong bill, and after we paid our bill she didn't even give us back change.

There are way better brunch places in the city.
Emily / November 9, 2013 at 03:44 pm
Stopped in for Brunch and ordered the Vegan red velvet pancakes with coconut cream and a side of fruit, it was AMAZING! I was so full half way in but couldn't put my fork down. Very friendly staff and really happy to see vegan friendly meal options. I often attend their night events and they are always super fun with a great atmosphere. Great new place.
Brian / November 13, 2013 at 10:29 pm
Went here to try a new brunch spot. Loved the brunch options i had the vegan eggs Benny, I'm amazed at how great it was, it's been years since I've had eggs and this was quite the treat a tasty and filling, can't wait to go back to try the scrambled tofu.

The service wasnt the fastest but the waiter was very pleasant and explained that there was an unexpected large group backing up the kitchen. We were given free doughnuts, yum! Even though I didn't think it necessary.

Looking forward to my next visit
Heather / November 17, 2013 at 09:25 pm
Went to brunch with my bf last weekend and we both really like it. He can't eat eggs and was really exited to try the vegan eggs Benny. I have no idea how they make them, but I'm glad they do! They looked like eggs and even had a yolk. The sauce is a great compliment to the dish. I tried the tofu scramble with a salad and found it to be flavourful but not over done. The service was good, and our waiter managed to be attentive even though there was a larger table seated right by us. They carry pig iron coffee, and if you've been to lit, you know how delicious it is. A brunch spot in the neighbourhood is a welcome addition, we'll be going back
Arielle / January 27, 2014 at 11:19 am
The Steady was my brunch nightmare.

After seeing it make BlogTO's 'Best New Brunch Restaurants' list, I was excited to check it out. From the moment the four of us walked in, we knew something wasn't quite right. At first, we deemed the dimly lit back room as quirky, as well as our server's nonchalance about providing water. When it took 15 minutes for coffees to arrive, along with another 10 minutes for our server to locate the 'lost' sugar bowl, we knew something was up, but chalked it up to the staff being hungover on a Saturday morning.

We ordered our food at noon - two skillets and two eggs teddy (which features a crab cake!) When our server returned 15 minutes later to inform us that they were out of crab cakes. Already? I asked if I could order bacon benny instead, but since I had already ordered a side of bacon, it was suggested that I simply DIY it. My companion said he would leave it up to Chef to decide on the best crab cake substitute. It was acknowledged that the $14 price tag would be adjusted due to the lack of crab cakes.

About 70 minutes later, our food finally arrived. The staff apologized for the exceptional wait, as it seemed they couldn't keep up with the volume. For the record, the restaurant was three-quarters full. Most seasoned brunch venues wouldn't consider it busy unless there was a line out the door. Anyway, it turns out that the Chef's idea of a great substitute for crab cakes is a plain English muffin. As we excitedly cut into the poached eggs, we were sad (but not exactly surprised) to find them hard-boiled. We informed another server who was quick to point out that that is how the eggs were supposed to be and that they were medium-poached. Sigh. While we waited for new eggs, we sampled the side order of sausage. It tasted faintly of soap. It was not touched again. Overall, the rest of the food was bland, dry and limp. Some plates were left entirely untouched.

It wasn't until we were putting on our coats that somebody else came by to clear our dishes. Finally, he asked whether everything was okay. We told him, honestly, it wasn't very good and we were really disappointed. He said he was sorry, and he hoped we had a better experience next time. We explained that there likely wouldn't be a next time. When the bill came, I was a little be shocked to see that not even our coffees were comp'd in exchange for everything that went wrong. We also didn't realize until later that we were charged full-priced for the eggs teddy, despite the lack of crab.

We got out of there as quickly as we could, relieved to breathe fresh air. It felt as though we had just wasted half our Saturday, held captive in brunch jail.

Never again, folks. Never again.
Sexually oblivious / January 30, 2014 at 06:02 pm
Maybe I'm sexually oblivious but I've been there a half dozen times during the day for coffee and never picked up the queer vibe haha.

They make a mean Americano.
Julie / February 18, 2014 at 01:14 pm
went there for brunch last weekend and was so so excited for a new brunch spot in my neighbourhood.

i ordered the skillet which was so tasty, with just the right over easy runny-ness to my eggs and i left feeling maybe a little too full! Our waiter, who i believe is one of the owners was friendly and engaging, he gave us some free donuts to try - just because!

the place is a little quirky and weird with the disco ball spinning in the backroom at 10am but i sort of liked that.

great food. lovely owners & fun ambiance!
Conny / February 25, 2014 at 08:48 pm
So, I went here with high hopes. I saw some positive feedback online and I wanted to support this new place in my hood as a food lover.

This was one of my WORST experiences ever. Not only were the servers rude and apathetic but they got almost every order wrong at my table and didn't seem to care.

The service straight up was terrible and when someone (at my table) out of sheer frustration ordered a mix drink, the bar-tender forget to add the vodka to the "vodka soda". Anyways, I was willing to forgive them if the food was amazing. (some of my favourite food places have old grumpy servers and bartenders).

Our table of 4 waited for food for well over an hour (80 mins) in a DEAD restaurant, when we asked what the hold up was the server casually said the kitchen was backed up and I looked around the restaurant with a very confused look on my face, backed up? backed up by what?

The Food:
I could go on forever about each meal ordered at my table but I won't, I will, however speak to 2 of them.
I ordered the Eggs Teddy ($14), this was disgusting. The crab cakes were really really bland dry and tasted like they came from can! But it got worse, when I went to burst into my poached egg, I was shocked too find that the "Chef" had served me hard boiled egg. This was really unacceptable. So, I decided to pick at the pathetic serving of mixed greens that came with the dish to find ROTTEN greens that I had unfortunately realized after I put some in my mouth. I was SOOOOOO FURIOUS!

My partner's meal was a safe bet, he keeps things simple. He got the "This or That" which is some silly hipster way of saying the traditional breakfast.He ordered 2 eggs scrambled,bacon hash browns and a biscuit,what could go wrong right? Well apparently, everything.

This meal looked like it was cooked by a child. First of all they served him very burnt greasy fried eggs (something that should have been thrown away,not landing on any plate of a paying customer) and remember he ordered scrambled. The bacon was sooooo undercooked I urged him not to eat it in fear of getting food poisoning. Then the horrific hash browns, it was probably the most disgusting thing on the plate! It was like someone served scraps of potatoes that had been sitting at the bottom of sink drain for a few days. They were so greasy and bland. lastly the biscuit, with family in the south I am lover of biscuits. This was by far the worst one i had ever had. I think for place that doesn't serve toast and only biscuits (worst idea ever) that biscuit has to be good. But this wasn't even edible! It was again the most starchy bland disgusting thing and hard as a rock!

(at a certain point i was starting to think we were on a restaurant version of punk'd, it was that bad)

We told the server about the mistakes and showed them the rotten greens. He didn't really have anything to say. I felt like I was talking to a child, not a professional bone in his body.
I asked him what he thought was fair with everything that had gone wrong with the our table (curious to see what he thought) and well he said that other people really liked the food and walked away! He then.....get ready, gave me the bill without anything comp'd. The nerve!

I can't even begin to explain the absolute rage I felt!!! Anyways, the moral of the story is this place is TERRIBLE and run by absolute amateurs. I was amazed by the utter lack of care from not only the servers but the chef/kitchen.

This place will likely close in a year and thank god for that. You can't NOT serve this crap and call it food and have people pay for it! I have told every person in my neighbourhood to stay clear of this place!!! This is was ridiculous and I want my money back! Too bad because the location is great. What a waste.

rain / April 26, 2014 at 08:36 pm
Must've been a few of the ones who were unlucky enough to get the bad service for this restaurant. WAS excited that it was a vegan brunch spot. BUT like some customers, i went with a friend - got my food after half an hour after ordering. My friend's order was delivered to her about 20 minutes after mine - BUT it was wrong.. . . . . TOTALLY wrong. So after 65 mins she finally got her meal, my meal was cold and over with.

And the waiter didn't care - - when we asked for a discount - he says he can't. But the female (owner) came out and gave us a 10% off.

Not really interested in going back.
sarah / July 10, 2014 at 08:55 am
I have tried coming to this place sooo many times, during the hours that they have posted as their hours of operation only to find that they are closed. Verrrry annoying. I even called one time to see if they were open only to have someone very rudely tell me when to come and came during that time only to find a locked door. So ridiculous.
p / November 5, 2014 at 12:14 am
Love this place, been twice and always enjoyed myself- bummer about the mixed reviews, maybe they're finding their legs.
Erin / February 15, 2015 at 11:50 am
This was truly the worst meal I have ever had.
We waited an hour to sit down even though we had a reservation for valentines day. I am not sure why we stayed but we gave them the benefit of the doubt until they served the food. The soup was cold and tasted dirty as though they hadn't peeled the carrots, they somehow messed up our meals even though there was only two options. They served us cold meat that tasted as though they had boiled and then roasted it for days. With a side of cold pasta that kind of tasted like vegan kraft dinner with some boiled kale and chunks of potatoes and carrots that were also cold and had no flavour.Even though we were starving we could not stomach this meal and neither of us finished anything.
I am not sure how anyone could have enjoyed this meal. This is the first terrible review I have ever written and normally if a few things go wrong in a restaurant I am out and having fun so I don't let it get to me, but this overall experience was so bad that I honestly don't feel right in letting it slide.
The chef definitely needs some more cooking experience, possibly some lessons and at the very least taste their own food. The lack of organization of the evening left many people feeling ignored and displeased. The couple in front of us left because she was so hungry, I wished we had done the same.
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