Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Friday Roots and Vibes

Friday Roots and Vibes operated as a pop-up within the May space before taking over the venue as a full-fledged restaurant with soul food, bourbon cocktails and live entertainment.

That includes comedy and live music, mostly along the lines of R&B, jazz, soul and rap, maybe with the occasional tap dancer thrown in. The basement is actually home to 876 Studio, and with a specially-priced artist menu, Friday Roots and Vibes aims to be a creative hub.Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

The space is smartly laid out with a stage opposite the front door, a bar under a sweeping curve of lights, an elevated area near the window with a large table seating six and a couple smaller tables creating perfect sight lines.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Baked mac n' cheese ($13) consists of shells in an extremely stretchy, gooey, creamy mix of old cheddar, parmesan and bechamel with a browned, crispy surface.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Nashville hot cauliflower bites ($12) give vegans a chance to see what all the Nashville hot fuss is about, the spongy, large florets an equally good vehicle for the fiery orange sauce as chicken, a few pickles and some vinegar providing a little acid to combat the heat.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Collard greens ($8) are served steamy with sweet onions and smoked ham hocks, a little bitter but with a bit of that rich ham flavour creeping in.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Cornbread with smoked salted butter or biscuits with jam go for $5, the cornbread nice and light and crumbly with a golden brown exterior.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

The Friday Burger ($16) is an epic, Insta-worthy burger that actually works: two grass-fed brisket patties that aren't too thick topped with cheese, bacon, lettuce and tomato with crispy onions on top and secret sauce on the bottom. 

Though just barely, I can actually get my mouth around it to taste all the components at once, though each layer is easy to identify.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Gluten-free buttermilk fried chicken for two ($25) comes with cheddar biscuits, butter, hot sauce and pickles, brined for 24 hours with juniper berries, paprika and a pepper mix. Many different flours lend different textural qualities to the herby coating.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Smoked chicken has to be ordered a day in advance because it takes a day to prepare. Brined in the same way as the fried chicken, it’s served with an entire jar of tangy Alabama white sauce poured over the bird tableside.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Dessert ($7) will always be some kind of pie, today's an iconic, custardy buttermilk.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

An apple pie bourbon sweet tea ($12) washes everything down almost too well, a combination of Southern Comfort, sweet tea, apple cider and cinnamon.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Tonight's band Game Set Trap plays a medley of jazzy covers.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Co-owner Joe Friday is a North Carolina native, also behind Calii Love.

Friday Roots Vibes Toronto

Photos by

Hector Vasquez


Friday Roots and Vibes

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