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ROSE & SONS 176 Dupont, at St George, 647-748-5490, roseandsons.ca, Tuesday to Saturday 10 am to 3 pm. Closed Monday, holidays. Unlicensed. Access: booth and counter seating, three steps to washrooms.
Oh, how they laughed last spring when chef Anthony Rose announced that he was leaving the swellegant Drake Hotel to open not one but three new restaurants over the next two years. Most toques can't even get one off the ground in that amount of time.
Well, the joke's on them because Rose quietly launched the first - the 30-seat Rose & Sons - in the north Annex earlier this week.
The socks ‘n' sandals set might remember the room as the beloved People's Food but they certainly won't be turned off by Rose's new direction. Think greasy-spoon staples like fries and gravy ($6) and three-egg breakfasts with pork chops ($19) cheek-to-jowl with grilled cabbage salads dressed with anchovies, garlic and pecorino cheese ($10). The Vesta Lunch gone cordon bleu, in other words.
How would Rose describe what he's doing?
"Sure, it's a diner direction but it's really just an extension of what I was doing at the Drake, those rustic kinda flavours. And I'm using all the same suppliers. It's a small space so it's not like we're re-inventing the wheel. We just made it pretty."
Have any of the old People's crowd been back?
"The first day we opened, all the local businesses came in. The community has been very supportive. We'd get at least 20 people a day coming by during construction and wondering what we were doing. It's the same but different."
Dinner service should start in the next two weeks once the liquor license gets the green light and a large backyard patio with a wood-burning oven is already in the works for next summer. But what about those other two restaurants? Will they be upscale spoons, too?
"They'll all have the Rose & Sons brand but we'll be playing around with genres."
So, we can expect the spectacular barbecue you created for that short-lived Drake pop-up?
"Oh, most definitely!"