Two Scarborough natives are recapturing the nostalgic lunchtimes of their '90s youth with a new grab-and-go patty shop
Jason Cheddie used to grab loaded patties for lunch at Malvern Mall while attending Mother Theresa High School. Freddy Gyebi would grab the same from a little shop around the corner from his home in Galloway.
The loaded patties would be housed in cocoa bread along with lettuce, tomatoes and cheese. “Have a nice drink with it and you’re just rocking,” says Gyebi, reminiscing about the snack of his youth. “You’re good for the day.”
The two fellas are recreating that beloved Scarborough tradition with their new spot, Patty Stop (5506 Lawrence East).
“We just took it up a notch,” says Gyebi. “We’re trying to make it into a gourmet patty.”
The patties, made by an off-site supplier in Scarborough, stand out on their own. The crust is thick, flavourful and toasted just right so that you can feel the insides melt when biting in. Gyebi and Cheddie split the patty open and toss in your choice of extras, including cheese, veggies, coleslaw and tender jerk chicken. They have a a selection of sauces, but the standout is the pepper sauce cooked up by Cheddie’s mother Monica (which you can also buy bottled).
Freddie Gyebi and Jason Cheddie, co-owners of Patty Stop. (Samuel Engelking)
The Patty Stop, which got a huge signal boost on Instagram from Gyebi’s old friend Drake, is very much a family business. Gyebi and Cheddie are family; the former’s partner, Sabrina, is the latter’s sister. The three of them own the takeout spot at Port Union and Lawrence, along with Cheddie’s wife Jennifer. Cheddie’s dad, Paul, is often in the back cooking up the non-patty offerings: goat on Fridays or saltfish and bakes on Saturdays.
And in the same way local joints kept their high school days filled with loaded patties, Gyebi and Cheddie are serving up their version to the kids from neighbouring Mowat High School.
But the co-owners say their clientele skews older. Cheddie has noticed a generational gap: Their older customers’ fondness for patties is couched in Gen X nostalgia, while today’s young’uns don’t really have that connection to grab-and-go lunch.
“We grew up in a rough neighbourhood,” Cheddie explains. “Our parents didn’t have all the money. They’ll give you money, but you have to make it work for you.”
His (and my) generation of Scarborough kids were weaned on patties or Toonie Tuesday at KFC as alternatives to the poutine in the high school cafeteria. Our kids have it different.
“We’re not well-off, but we’re good now. We’re able to give this generation more money, So now these kids are buying more than just patties. They’re going to McDonald’s, Subway and Starbucks. That’s why I think our customer is more grown up.”