This one-man operation is Toronto's smallest hidden Italian restaurant
Toronto has lots of great Italian restaurants, but a small one-man operation tucked away in a parking lot has some serious firepower.
"Fuoco Mio is an Italian word for 'my fire,'" Frank Addesi, owner of the Fuoco Mio trailer, tells blogTO.
"It's mostly used in the Italian culture as a slang for describing something, for instance, tasting something you like, they would say 'fuoco mio che buono,' meaning 'fuoco mio, that's tasty.'"
He came up with the fiery name when he initially named his pizza oven after it, loving to build up fires inside it and cook pizzas in his backyard.
"I learned to cook mostly from my mom, she was a great cook and her love for food and cooking inspired me," says Addesi.
"I learned what she had to teach me and it became something I loved to do and a hobby, spent most of my weekends learning dishes, putting my own spin on them."
He's been bringing his Italian cooking to a parking lot outside craft breweries Shacklands and Rainhard (also near Junction) for a while now in pop-up form, but emerging from lockdowns he's got his own outdoor trailer.
Fuoco Mio slings Italian sandwiches with meats made, cured and freshly sliced by Adessi himself, scratch sauces and fresh cut fries.
He's been curing his own meats since he was a teen, and now usually starts the process of curing his own capocollo, soppressata, cacciatore and prosciutto around mid-January to early February.
All meats come from a local family-owned butcher shop and are cured over the course of months, the prosciutto cured for 16 months.
Italian arborio rice, Parmigiano cheese, sweet peas and ground veal or portabello mushroom are used to make huge crispy arancini.
The signature Fuoco Mio sandwich ($12) has smoked prosciutto, capocollo, roasted sweet peppers, muffuletta, sundried tomatoes and boconcini on focaccia.
Classic Italian breaded veal sandwiches are $12 as well as an eight-ounce burger that tops Addesi's own blend of beef with tomato, sauteed onions, arugula and aglio e olio drizzle.
Fuoco Mio also secretly serves some surprisingly phenomenal off-menu fries, and they're just $3.
However, they're at home on the menu alongside Addesi's other scratch-made creations, fresh cut every day and blanched before frying to give that textbook crispy yet soft texture.
This place is so obscure, you just have to go there to find out about what's being served some days (think creations like $5 chili fries).
"I love to have daily specials that are off menu giving my customers different meals. Most of my specials come from my customers telling me what they would love for me to make, I then make my home version of it," Addesi says.
"I love experimenting, and giving my customers what they want is one of the reasons why I am here, and have loyal customers who love my food. This was a hobby that I wanted to make full time. I recently quit my career of 30 years to to do what I love and hope to be here for the long run."
His former career was in the produce department at a small independent family-owned grocery store.
He'll just have to get through his first winter in a parking lot, but plans on staying open and is fully prepared with an enclosed dining space outdoors with a fireplace for warmth.
People are also fully welcome to bring his food into any of the three breweries in the area to pair with their beers and dine inside.
"I work along side with the breweries feeding their employees and customers," says Addesi.
"It's fun pairing their beers with my food. Each person has their favourite beer to go along with their panini or burgers."
Fuoco Mio is open from Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Join the conversation Load comments