The Wild Pigeon
The Wild Pigeon is relatively frat boy in sensibility, but the place is clean and cozy with fun touches like a fake fire blazing away on the TV and a neon sign reading “Let’s Get Weird” mounted on astroturf in the corner where stand up comedy regularly takes place.
It's run by some of the same people behind Tequila Jacks.
A menu of well-priced college go-to’s doesn’t shy away from frozen ingredients, available fast and filling.
For example, pierogis come in orders of a half-dozen ($8) or dozen ($14), potato and cheddar ones just like the kind my mom used to buy in bags. They use a classic hack I myself used to rely on, pan-frying them with cayenne for a major boost in flavour and spice.
That means they’re actually weirdly satisfying, crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, served with perhaps too little sour cream for me, but an abundance of grilled onions, and fresh green apple slices to provide relief from the spice.
A hamburger ($9) is really simple, the all-beef patty also frozen. It kinda reminds me of burgers I used to have at birthday parties as a kid, but it’s actually relatively well-constructed with lettuce on the bottom and cheese, red onion and tomato on top.
Kettle-cooked chips are just a buck fifty, and come for free with the burger.
A triple-decker grilled cheese ($8) comes on seedy bread with havarti, turkey, apple and lime, actually once winning the regular local Grilled Cheese Challenge. It could be a little cheesier and again feels like something you’d make for yourself late at night, but nevertheless this combo of ingredients always works.
What the food menu lacks in selectivity of ingredients is more than made up for by the quality of spirits.
A New Toronto Caesar ($15) comes with your choice of liquor, so as a wildcard I select boozy Junction 56 Distillery moonshine. Beefy Walter’s Caesar Mix and a skewer loaded with pickles, olives and salami canitas stand up to the alcohol.
A Canadian Mojito ($15) is made with two ounces of Flor de Cana rum and a tablespoon of maple syrup in place of sugar, which works well.
A Norwegian Frigg ($15) uses specialty Norwegian Kimerud gin, made from botanicals all grown on one farm just outside Oslo. It’s subtly underscored by Franklins Natural Indian Tonic and rosemary and lemon peel garnishes.
The Wild Pigeon also boasts a basement you can actually stand up in, with rec room favourites like giant Jenga, pool and foosball.