This hidden gem may be the landmark capital must-eat location for the emergence of the ugly little step-brother known as the Junction Triangle. Blink and you’ll drive past it without even knowing but you’ll be missing out on a hidden gem that’s cooking some of the best food this city has to offer. While most flock further west to local more well-known favourites like Indie Ale House and Playa Cantina, this tucked away takeout restaurant transformed a hole in the wall garage into a treasure in a developing area of Toronto.
Jake Taylor, a rising culinary star from Newfoundland and his business partner Robb Eng have created a must-eat burger and sandwich joint that leaves this reviewer salivating remembering his first bite.
Tuck Shop Kitchen put no stops in their décor. When you step through the doors, you feel like you’re up north at the cottage visiting your favourite grill or general store. Besides their selection of food (which we’ll definitely get to in this review), you’re going to find a vast array of candy, chips and other local treats from the Junction Triangle family.
Besides it reminding you of your favourite grill, Jake and his staff make it feel like you’re visiting friends from back home every single visit. They keep the mood light and the place is always bumping with feel good music from what you grew up with. The staff are super friendly and love to chat with their customers.
The one downfall I’d say is that seating is a bit scarce as it is a small spot but there are 3.5 benches (the half being for the kiddies) provided outside for you to eat. Expect lineups and take it to the local park down the street if there’s no space for you.
My God the food is incredible. I’ve been back multiple times to try every dish now and there is not one thing on their menu that is not amazing. On top of that, their daily specials (like their Cobb Salad, Turkey Burger and Reuben) are always a hit to the point where you almost beg they had them on their everyday menu. These guys could take their specials and open up a second joint (if you’re reading this review guys, please do it in a bigger spot out east).
Fair warning though, this place seems to be a fan favourite for locals in the area so lunch time (12 PM-2PM) can get super packed. It’s best to call in and set an order aside, or order online for pickup at store.tuckshopkitchen.ca.
TUCK BURGER ($8.25)
If I had to take a pick for your first meal, I’d recommend their classic Tuck Burger with all the regular toppings, plus adding a slice of their house peameal bacon. The burger is a joyous mix of lean brisket, pork shoulder and house smoked backfat that gives you the smoke flavour without drying out the meat. What you’ll get is one of the juiciest burgers you’ll ever eat, made-to-order with lettuce, tomato, red onion and their own special Tuck Chimichurri sauce, which was inspired by local recipes when travelling in Argentina. The peameal (which is brined for 10 days for ultra flavouring) is so good I’ve bought it uncooked and sealed for gifts for the family. If you’re not into peameal, I’d suggest adding their thick cut house cured bacon and 2-year Balderson cheddar to the burger.
ROAST TURKEY & APPLE ($8.10)
Not in the mood for a burger? This lighter sandwich is incredible as popular as their Tuck Burger: Charcoal roasted roast turkey breast, crisp Granny smith apple, lettuce, red onion, and partridge berry mayo on multigrain bread. Jake brings the Partridge berries from Newfoundland to give the sandwich a tart zip akin to cranberries. Slap on a slice of brie and you’ll have one of the crunchiest and tastiest meals of the day.
MISO TOFU ($7.75)
My SO, being the healthy weekday vegetarian tried the miso tofu sandwich. The miso-marinated in tofu skin comes with coleslaw, fennel and smoked vegetable BBQ. I’ll tell you I took a bite out of this thing and as a preferred meat-eater myself, absolutely loved it. The softness of the bun, texture of protein and sauce combined made for a magnificent entrée. Add on caramelized onion and house pickled jalapeño for added awesomeness. Also comes with a vegan option!
I had to know how it was that a place like TuckShop Kitchen just popped up out of nowhere with a top to bottom mouth drooling menu. I had a short interview with Jake and he told me the secret to his success has been: “Giving hard working people great value for their money; great quality food made locally. We’re here to serve the neighbourhood and have a great time doing it. If you’re a regular from the area, we’ll probably know your name – or at least your sandwich.”