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Restaurants

The Wren

Posted by Jen Hunter / Profiled on July 2, 2013 / review policy

The Wren TorontoThe Wren, a new saloon-style pub on Danforth, opened last month, serving up southwestern style food and craft beers to eager locals. Occupying a quiet strip between Greenwood and Coxwell, it is something of a relief to see a new watering hole here, and hopefully (along with neighbours Sauce), will spur a revival of the area.

Former advertising executive Dennis Kimeda and his wife Rhonda designed and renovated the entire space themselves. Wooden floors, a wagon wheel chandelier above the bar, as well as salvaged barn-wood banquet tables and walls all make it feel like a little piece of the old west. Dominating one wall is part of a vintage Coca-Cola advertisement that was discovered underneath the drywall.

A wren carved into the bar wood by Dennis himself looks proudly on as you ponder your beer choice of the 12 Canadian beers on tap, including Great Lakes Hissyfit Grisette ($7), Cameron's RPA ($7.50) and Flying Monkeys Stereovison ($6.50), as well as an extensive bottle list.

The Wren TorontoNot in the mood for a pint? No problem. The Wren has a southwestern-style cocktail list, featuring drinks such as The Western Sour, with Forty Creek whiskey, herb-infused simple syrup, grapefruit juice and lime served in a brown sugar and lime zest rimmed glass.

Beer cocktails are also on offer: the Lager-lada is made with muddled smoked peppers, tequila and lime, topped with Beau's lug tread and served in a crushed pepper and salt rimmed glass. All cocktails are just $8.

The menu comprises a short list of Mexican and southern comfort food classics. We're told that everything is made in-house.

The Wren TorontoWe start with the Guacamole and Chips ($7), which have a nice balance of creamy texture, with zesty and spicy flavours, accented with large chunks of fresh tomato and chopped egg that add depth and a hearty quality, making it more of a meal then a snack. Accompanied by a sharing size portion of house made tortilla chips (that I wish were seasoned), and this soon looks to be a pretty decent dish for seven bucks.

The Wren TorontoThe Wren Sausages ($14) are made with house made chorizo and andouille sausages, served on a rich mound of cheddar and jalapeno polenta that is plated alongside a thick stew of spiced black beans. Whilst the sausages are moist and tender, the polenta is a great combination of sharp cheddar and spice, and the black beans contrast nicely with a salty clove and nutmeg quality.

The Wren TorontoI plump for a lighter option with the quinoa chimichurri salad ($10) a massive portion of seasoned quinoa, roasted corn, and chopped watercress topped with shaved red onion and jicama, with a simple herb dressing. Though it is delicious, the salad is drowned in the dressing. A shame considering it's otherwise a fresh and tasty veggie option, especially in the heat of summer.

The Wren TorontoThe Wren did what it set out to do: provide a great neighbourhood local with friendly attentive staff, good food, and great beer. Dennis stresses the 'local' aspect, and it seems he's picking up quite a few regulars already. It's certainly a cozy spot, and definitely one of the best options in this neighbourhood.

The Wren TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

11 Comments

Ommy's Regular / July 3, 2013 at 11:39 am
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I am offended that this Bird place turned me away when I asked for a Blue.
East Yorker / July 3, 2013 at 02:14 pm
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As a long time resident of the neighbourhood, this is a very welcomed addition to the area. With this, sauce, sarahs and the (somewhat) rebranding of Jerry's supermarket I think we are seeing the start of a flourishing marketplace on the Danforth. Welcome Wren, us neighbours are happy to have you.
Salty / July 4, 2013 at 09:01 am
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Went there yesterday and the place filled up quickly. Great food, great beer, decent prices, super friendly staff... what else could you ask for?
Your Neighbour replying to a comment from East Yorker / July 4, 2013 at 12:17 pm
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Don't forget Morgan's and Red Rocket coffee too. All steps in the right direction for the area.
Eastender4life / July 4, 2013 at 05:13 pm
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Ohh I can't wait to try this place out, haven't gone in that direction in a while, since the appeal of Leslieville. But excited to try this one out now.
Mike / August 16, 2013 at 07:55 pm
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While away in Asia a friend of mine told me about this new "western themed bar" that opened around our east end stomping ground. I was bracing for the worst.

I was pleasantly surprised. The decor was subtle and tasteful, the staff friendly and personable, and their appetizers tasty and fairly priced.

Best thing about the East Danforth, and I've noticed this at The Only Cafe and Sauce (just a few doors down) is the diversity of the clientele. I could not pinpoint the target demo at The Wren. There were 20 somethings sitting next to empty nesters. These East Dan joints lack the pretentiousness (and homogeneity) of their Ossington and Bloordale counterparts.
rich replying to a comment from Ommy's Regular / November 11, 2013 at 04:10 pm
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Shut-up you fucking skid...
Lisa / January 22, 2014 at 02:32 pm
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Have only had fabulous service at The Wren. Delicious, and ever-changing, selection of craft beers married with super tasty food (try as I may, I can't stop ordering the pulled pork chimichanga!!) make for a wonderful meal out. The staff are always friendly and very chatty. It's our favourite place in the neighbourhood!
Jay / January 25, 2014 at 11:37 am
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Love The Wren, so glad it made it into the best new restaurants. Our neighbourhood is really improving! We have places to eat/drink like here, morgans, sauce. then there are places to shop like The Pillow Shoppe, McCormick's Imports, and LEN. Awesome!
Sarah / April 16, 2014 at 02:00 pm
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Great service (someone came by to offer us drinks while we waited for a table) and yummy food! Had the quinoa salad (big portions) and the relish that comes with the empanadas was delish. Drinks tasty and they don't skimp on the alcohol! Will definitely be back!
william replying to a comment from Ommy's Regular / July 18, 2014 at 05:49 pm
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step out of the blue and try a craft beer; something new.

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