The Saint Tavern is one of the anchor restaurants on the Ossington strip. Serving a bacon-heavy brunch and classic contemporary dishes all week long to crowds from across the GTA, The Saint has been well-reviewed since opening – after a long delay – in 2012.
We spoke with the executive chef from The Saint, Jesse Vallins, about his restaurant.
Tell our readers a bit about your business?
The Saint is a classic tavern. We’re a love-all, serve-all establishment with no pretense. We have great food and warm, welcoming hospitality. No matter if you are there for a post work drink, a three-course prix-fixe Sunday Supper, or a weekend brunch with friends, we’ve got you covered! We specialize is sausages too. We offer a great wine, cocktail and beer selection.
How is your business unique?
We’re unique in a couple of ways. First is our approach to food; we’re cooking very simple, familiar food, the food that people want to eat, but doing everything from scratch, and making the best versions of the dishes we do. Second is that as a tavern in the classic sense, we’re a place that people can come for different reasons and different price points. You can come in with a friend for oysters and cocktails; you can come in on your own for a burger and a beer; you can come with a big group and go all out on a family style feast with great wine. We aren’t trying to be part of any scene, we just want people to come in and have a great time. The Saint is one of King Street Food Company’s restaurants (Buca King, Buca Yorkville, Bar Buca, Jacobs, Jamie’s Italian Canada) and as a company, our goal is to provide a consistently great dining experience with the freshest and best sourced ingredients, an artisanal approach to the craft, a warm and sophisticated atmosphere, and a thoughtful approach to hospitality.
How long have you been in business here?
The Saint has been open for about three years. I’ve been with King Street Food Company for two.
What drew you to be on Ossington?
We were drawn to Ossington because of the diversity of the neighbourhood and its establishments. There is a real sense of community, along with a dynamic vibe. I think that combination is why it stays down to earth.
What changes have you seen on Ossington since your business has been here?
The area changes all the time but the thing I like best is how it stays the same. While it is a destination for eating and drinking, it’s also a true neighbourhood all day long, with local businesses of every kind. New restaurants, bars and shops have opened and closed over the time we’ve been here but the blend of new residents and families who’ve been in the area for generations keep it solid.
How do you see your business and Ossington five years from now?
We want to continue to be a neighbourhood tavern; a place where you can come for comfort food done right, a pint from our list of craft beer options on tap, and consistently great service. As for Ossington, I can’t wait to see what it looks like in five years. If the last five are any indication it will continue to thrive!
What is your favorite spot on Ossington, other than your own? and why?
Bellwoods Brewery. They’re brewing some of the best beer in Ontario. We have a wide selection of craft beers on tap at The Saint and I love the fact that beer geeks like me have multiple great options on the Ossington strip. I drop in a few times a week there to pick up beer to bring home!
The Saint, 227 Ossington Ave. Toronto ON. M6J 2Z8 | T: 647 350 2100
To read more profiles of the businesses on Ossington click here.