Antler Health Inspection

Antler restaurant gets warning from city after vegan protest

It's been a full week now since news broke of a Toronto chef cutting up deer meat in front of vegan protesters – and as much as things have changed, they've very much stayed the same.

Michael Hunter, the chef who staged the bold counter-protest, is still being hailed as a hero around the web this week.

Antler, the Dundas West restaurant where it all went down, has become somewhat of a culinary sensation over the past seven days, making reservations harder to get than usual and drawing praise from celebrities like Patton Oswalt.

Still, the limelight hasn't been 100 per cent kind. It never is.

Toronto Public Health confirmed to The National Post on Monday that it had received a complaint about "potential improper food handling" at Antler on March 27, when news of the protest started picking up steam online. 

Inspectors were sent to the restaurant, which is known for serving wild, locally-sourced foods, that same day.

TPH manager of healthy environments, Owen Chong, told The Post that Antler's owners were advised of the need to "refrain from processing food outside of the kitchen."

This was no doubt in reference to video footage of Hunter cutting up a deer leg in the front window of his restaurant to "taunt" vegans, as the protesters (who returned to Antler this weekend) put it.

Antler TPH

Toronto Public Health's food safety program publicizes the results of all health code inspections for restaurants within the city. (Image via City of Toronto/Screenshot.) 

Despite the warning, Toronto's DineSafe index shows that Antler passed the public health agency's compliance inspection with passing colours (er, colour. Green.)

Two previous inspections, one conducted about a year ago and another in August of 2016, also resulted in a green "pass" for Antler, which means that "no infractions were observed under the Food Premises Regulation during an inspection."

"We are not surprised by the green pass issued as we have always been in excellent standing with TPH since the day we opened in 2015," said a PR representative for the restaurant on Monday.

"We thank them for coming by and welcome TPH and any of its inspectors into our establishment anytime."

Lead photo by

Len Goldberg

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