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Uncle Ray's

Uncle Ray's is a Southern-style restaurant serving comfort food, heaping piles of Nashville hot chicken, and bone marrow shots.

This massive restaurant comes from the same team behind AmanoCarbon Bar, and Union Chicken, taking its namesake from one of the latter's most popular dishes: the Uncle Ray's Lightning Chicken. 

uncle rays torontoAccording to the owners, Union's take on Nashville hot chicken was so popular, it was enough to spawn a brand new food concept of its own. 

uncle rays torontoThere are multiple  sections in the space, including areas that can be curtained off for private parties, a snack bar, and a massive projector screen for big sports games. 

uncle rays torontoThe mysterious identity of Uncle Ray (not a real person, by the way) is kind of a running theme here—one that got the restaurant in hot water before it even opened its doors.

uncle rays torontoThe brand has since resolved itself, and the whole thing now only feels as messy as the menu—a hodgepodge of inspired by-but-not-strictly Southern gravies, hot honey glazes, and melty cheese.

Items off the lunch menus are essentially the sandwich versions of things you'll find on the dinner menu, which features more shareable dishes.

uncle rays torontoThe shrimp po'boy ($21) is Labatt 50 beer battered shrimp on top of a Martin's Potato Rolls bun with some potato chips spiced with a Route 86 mix. 

uncle rays torontoThe Argentinian red shrimp aguachile ($16) is a dinner appetizer that makes the Mexican dish with Argentinian shrimp, avocado, sesame, cucumber, and serrano chili. 

uncle rays torontoSteak and potatoes ($29.50) is really a sous-vide hanger steak, poached in butter and then grilled.

uncle rays torontoMashed potatoes are made fresh every day before dinner service, and the roasted bone marrow is served with bourbon, calvados, or fernet on the side. 

uncle rays torontoWhen done with the ultra fatty marrow, which is topped with a salsa verde, you're meant to use the hollow of the bone as a luge for your shot. It's totally extra, pretty impractical (beware dripping oil), and hilarious. 

uncle rays torontoShrimp and grits ($22) uses Old Bay seasoning for this southern specialty. There's double smoked bacon, white corn gravy, smoked pork hock, and Uncle Ray's signature house hot honey. 

uncle rays torontoThe piece de resistance is obviously the Lightning Chicken plate, two legs' worth of buttermilk chicken with hot honey, and pickles on a single piece of white bread. 

The key is just to thrust your knife into the pile, slicing through the huge stack of chicken. The spiciness comes from the fact it's dunked in three layers of heat: spicy pork fat, with cayenne pepper, and habanero hot sauce.

uncle rays torontoHousemade buttermilk soft serve ($6) feels kind of like eating froyo, drizzled with hot honey and topped with caramel popcorn bits. 

uncle rays torontoAside from draught beers and some large reserve bottles, there are signature cocktails like the Smash Bros ($15), served with Buffalo Trace bourbon, lemon, mint, and orange blossom. 

uncle rays torontoOh, You Fancy Huh ($16) utilizes the colourful powers of butterfly pea flower infused with altos plata, St. Germain, vanilla, cardamom bitters, and lemon. 

uncle rays toronto

Photos by

Fareen Karim

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