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Hey! Rod Bowers new Roncesvalles location

  • k

Has anyone been? Any details? I know it is open but the internet doesn't seem to know anything about it...

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  1. Someone posted this link in the other Hey Meatball thread (for College Street location). It was from a few months ago but gives you a bit more details (larger space, licensed, etc):


    1. They opened during the Polish festival and then reopened on Friday night. Went in for dinner with the family and the place was slammed. On top of that their a/c broke which didn't help much. Food was good but needless to say the temperature didn't make it the most enjoyable of experiences. He's got some pastas, a few sandwiches, a fish dish, couple salads etc. It's gonna do take out in about a wk or so i believe. A few beers on tap as well and a juice bar too. Also they do baked goods and coffee etc. He's making good use of the space. They also did a nice job on the room. Prices are decent, he's also gonna do a kids menu but they hadn't launched it yet when i was in. I'll go back in a week or so, great new addition to the 'hood : )

      1 Reply
      1. re: dannyboy

        Good to hear it's open finally. I didn't realize it was focusing on sit-down type experience so your info is very useful. Gonna have to get in there in the next couple of days.

        1. So I dropped by for brunch this weekend. I was in the area and ended up parking close by there and we were walking around checking out the options and passed by here so we gave it a shot.

          I had the smoked ham hock with 2 fried eggs served on beans. I also had a kale juice (mixed with some other stuff, they have a juicer on site). My friend had the daily quiche and a coffee.

          I enjoyed my meal and my friend seemed to like his. Price was around $10.50 per entree for brunch. I probably wouldn't order the same thing again though because there wasn't really much ham in it.

          I got a donut to go and my friend had a cookie. The donut was really dense... too dense...

          Anyone been for dinner? Bowers was there on the Saturday when I went.

          2 Replies
          1. re: ylsf

            We went the first week it was open (breaking my cardinal rule of never going the first few weeks a new restaurant is open). We were shown to our table and informed by our server that he was going to blow us away. They were out of wine - not his fault - so we ordered our meals - salads plus entrees. He brought cutlery and then forgot about us. When we informed the manager that we felt we'd been forgotten, the manager corrected the situation immediately, got our order into the kitchen, and took the salads off of our bill. Well handled. The server didn't bother to apologize or even acknowledge that he'd screwed up.
            The salads were very good - excellent kale caesar - very lightly dressed yet flavourful. Can't remember the other salad but it was good too.
            Very underwhelmed by the pizza and the burger. My brother-in-law enjoyed his spaghetti & meatballs.
            Took forever to get the bill - actually considered leaving without paying it, and I used to work in the business - this was such an awful service experience that it was laughable. Kind of like watching a train wreck in slow motion, knowing it could have been avoided, but it was too late.
            It would take a lot to get me back in there again - maybe a deathbed promise... Yes, he did blow us away!

            1. re: hungryjoanne

              Curious to see Amy Pataki's review of this place :)

              Anyway, we had our own little service issue, it wasn't a huge thing but my friend had ordered a glass of milk and the server totally forgot it... Took a while to get it even after reminding her...

          2. Brutal review in The Globe today. No stars. Apparently I'm also internet broken because I can't seem to find a link to this review either. Sorry.

            8 Replies
                1. re: TorontoJo

                  "It came as cold as a bus stop bench in early February. It was the colour of pallor mortis and tasted like Kraft Stove Top stuffing. It was the sort of dish you want to chase with tears and a litre of Stolichnaya."

                  hahaha. i like this guys style more and more

                  1. re: disgusti

                    I have to think he made up that phrase sometime in the distant past and has been looking for a review to finally deploy it on.

                    Oh and "the colour of pallor mortis" is redundant

                    1. re: bytepusher

                      Can't decide whether the writing of CNS or Margaret Wente irks me more.

                      I wish Rod Bowers lots of luck with his new place. I'm going to give it a try after he's had a little more time to work out some kinks.

                      1. re: prima

                        Agree with that. Sounds like he's off to a tough start, i wish him well too...

                    2. re: disgusti

                      I had a good laugh when I read the Stoli comment too.

                  2. re: LexiFirefly

                    Yeah just saw CNS tweet about that. I guess I made out lucky with my brunch there. He had three dinners and one brunch there too, plenty of chances!

                  3. Further to the negative review in the Globe and Mail, a more positive take on the brunch offerings in NOW magazine :

                    I know someone posted a seperate thread about this but I think it makes sense to keep the discussion all in one thread.

                    1. Went a couple of weeks ago. Had mac and cheese w roast pork and a side of brussel sprouts, friends had gnocchi as well as a beef dish w roasted sunchokes and garlic puree.

                      Gnocchi was the standout, both the mac and cheese and sprouts were somewhat unimpressive and unmemorable. Beef came out almost cold with unimpressive sides. On the whole portions were small.

                      Service was friendly but slow. Took a while for our food to come especially for a quiet rainy night mid-week. CNS was right about constant smell of burnt oil.

                      Total bill with 1 beer each, tax and tip was $90. Not outrageous but given portions, not worth the money and not good value for me.

                      I really wanted to love this place. The room is big and lovely. Don't know if I would've gone with the jugular and given zero stars, but my first impression was that there are better places to go in the neighbourhood. Too bad.

                      1. Hey! is in my neighbourhood. I have been many times - for real meals, snacks, and a blow out pre-opening dinner with the local Vegetable Garden Tour gang, which featured lots of ingredients from our gardens.

                        YES, the original service was slow and inattentive. There were clear front of the house issues and also, clearly kitchen venting issues, that are being addressed. I don't hesitate to call the wait staff to task when they are not hopping to it - I am invested in Hey! being a success - it's whole raison d'etre, fits right in with what I want in a local restaurant.

                        What is that, and why will I stick with Hey? Simple - it's about the only restaurant in the Roncesvalles-Queens area (I know them all, and have visited them, as they open, over the last 2 decades) that serves proper meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner - in a non-cafe style setting. It's unique. You can sit, take your coat off, spread out a bit. You can also just grab a coffee and muffin, or a drink. This is the kind of food we cook and eat at my home. It's really about taking the whole diner concept to a much less fried place.

                        The Hey chefs and kitchen staff do an amazing job with seasoning - they are NOT over-salting, which is the case in most (even Toronto's most high end) restaurants. This is what makes Hey food something that can be eaten frequently. Plus with the menu changing so frequently, there's no need for boredom. All in all, it's an amazingly healthy line up of food, that need not be too pricey.

                        The other day, my 5'8" teen daughter polished off a huge chicken pot pie (that she pronounced as good as mine), and huge slice of apple pie, but I just had a small pot of the rillete. Earlier in the week, another daughter just grabbed coffee, juice and baked goods, en route back to Waterloo U - I was happy to know she was eating healthy food, after she skipped the offerings at home.

                        Since I cancelled our Globe subscription (due to their atrocious handling of the Wente plagiarism scandal), it's been great - the bad review is neither here nor there in terms of influencing me. Rodney Bowers is playing the long game with Hey! He's got my support.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: carriesmum

                          what a rave...i've been avoiding it until it finds its legs. i've learned that the first couple of months of a resto can lead to disappointment. i guess it is time to give it a try.

                          1. re: carriesmum

                            So "MOST high end (Toronto) restaurants..oversalt".
                            But they don't do that here.
                            Sounds like underseasoned food to me.

                            I wonder why he's changed from his several prior places!

                          2. Just when you thought it couldn't get worse it does...they've revamped the place and made some changes...

                            Reminiscent of the ikea food court, patrons are now expected to order from a skimpy list of lacklustre offerings (no desserts anymore folks) and are left to seat themselves, where ever...no need for table numbers, when your food is ready the same bored counter staff you just dealt w moments ago bellows out your name for pickup. Note, your table will not be getting their meals together, it's a slapdash affair over here.

                            Seating is now limited to the upper level so while they tout 'kid friendly' you better leave that stroller behind.

                            From the street this place looks like it's closed for business and the front is now painted a sombre flat black, blinds drawn. If I hadn't have called ahead to confirm they were open evenings I would have assumed otherwise...I wonder if they are slightly ashamed of the food court format and in hiding?

                            I'm guessing there are no tips to be made here as patrons are expected to clear their own tables, 15 min in I'm still sitting next to an uncleared table. This lack of service and attention does make one hell of a place to squat for hour w/o ordering a damn thing. Wonder if they have free wifi?!

                            Unless you are desperate skip this joint n keep heading north.

                            oh did I mention they no longer serve the nice teas they used to (only herbal tea on offer now is a bag of mint or chamomile mint), no more lattes or capps either...and zippo to a decaf as well. ug.

                            1 Reply