United Bakers Dairy
United Bakers is a family owned and operated self-proclaimed “traditional style dairy restaurant.” They’ve been serving what most of us would recognize as beloved Jewish and deli classics for over a hundred years, the history of which is catalogued on their website.
Young Polish immigrant couple the Ladovskys opened the original location on Agnes Street in what was then a Jewish neighbourhood, before relocating to Spadina Avenue for over 50 years.
The current restaurant is spacious, and needs to be: at any given time the place is packed, and it’s reliably hectic by 11:30 a.m. Angled mirrors on the ceiling add to an already retro, unchanged vibe with booths and wood panelling, but also add to the feeling of being surrounded by community.
No longer really a bakery anymore, most products here are brought in from commercial bakers.
Think of it like a curated selection of the best Jewish products the city has to offer from the likes of Bagel Stop, Bakery World, and Gryfe’s.
You can still purchase loaves as well as buns, bagels, salads, soups and sandwiches from a to-go counter.
What are baked here are a selection of miniature baked goods like cinnamon raisin rugelach, mini cheese danishes, and mini chocolate croissants, as well as all muffins.
Split pea soup ($4.99 for a bowl) is what they’re known for here. It’s a family recipe made with fresh veggies and laced with thin noodles, a simple but comforting dish countless Torontonians have grown up on.
Thick cabbage borscht ($3.99 for a cup) is Friday’s soup. Other options include potato, beet borscht and barley bean, all cooked fresh in house; split pea is served every day.
Cheese blintzes ($12.49 for an order of two) stuff fluffy, savoury compressed cottage cheese into thin pancake wrappers that are cooked until crispy, golden brown and warm.
Sour cream and apple sauce are typical accompaniments that lend coolness, creaminess and sweetness, or you can also go with blueberry topping.
The lox and cream cheese platter ($14.99) is served with a bagel, thick slices of tomato and cucumber and a healthy amount of red onion and a generous scoop of cream cheese as well as capers. You also get a choice of coleslaw or potato salad and fries or greens.
Enjoy the sandwich DIY-style from there.
United Bakers now lies at Lawrence Plaza, having followed the migration of Toronto’s Jewish population as it always has. You’ll still see three-plus generations of the same family come together over a meal here, and it’s still a great place to bring yours to do the same.