The Steady is now open near Bloor and Dufferin, doing double duty as a cafe by day, and as a dancehall and queer positive hotspot by night. Since taking over the space from Ethiopian restaurant Queen of Sheba, the new eatery and bar has been playing host to dance parties all summer long and is now ready to start promoting its kitchen, which is helmed by ex-Hogtown Vegan chef, Vanessa Robak.
Co-owners Tyler Watts and Keaton Taylor are disarmingly friendly. The duo hail from varying backgrounds, Watts a Toronto native and Taylor from Florida. The decor takes cues from Taylor's South Beach roots featuring deco-inspired geometric colour blocks in sherbet hues. The front room is cozy, offering cafe seating opposite the bar while in the back there is a spacious dining room that can be easily converted to a dance floor.
The menu lists sharing plates, suppers and desserts, dedicating equal attention to meat eaters and vegans alike. It bills its offerings as casual, Miami-inspired dishes peppered with Cuban accents.
For omnivores there are dishes like the watermelon ceviche ($13) mixed with red snapper, sea bass and shrimp marinated in citrus, melon and jalapeño. A fluffy cheddar biscuit accompaniment is there to sop up the juices.
On the vegan side there's a faux chorizo taco salad ($11, lead photo) served in a tortilla bowl with quinoa, avocado, tofu, black beans, pico and daiya cheese. The ambition was to create a place where people could eat together, where no one will be stuck with a mere side dish for dinner. Behind the scene In the kitchen this means a strict division and rigorous colour coding to ensure nothing is cross contaminated.
For dessert there are house made options like the salted key lime pie ($5) served with a graham cracker crust and chocolate sauce.
The cocktail list is concise, billing just three signature mixed drinks like the Forbidden Fruit ($11) made with tequila, unpressed apple cider and rosemary infused maple syrup. From Wednesday through Friday the BYOW corkage fee is only $5. Of the nine beers on tap, most are local or small batch brewers like Left Field.
The Steady is open Wednesday to Sunday from 9:30am to 2am. During the day they're serving Pig Iron coffee and Herbal Infusion teas, but there are plans to launch a brunch menu this fall. Currently the kitchen is open from 5pm to 10:30.
Photos by Jesse Milns