When Dale’s Restaurant closed its doors after 23 years of business just a few years ago, the inhabitants of Bloordale were hard-pressed for affordable and great breakfast items. And although there was a hopeful replacement (The Bloordale Pantry), it wasn't until The Whippoorwill arrived that the neighbourhood felt whole again.
The Whippoorwill — located at 1285 Bloor Street West, right at the corner of Bloor and Lansdowne — has been home to owner Shawn Creamer and chef Tyler Cunningham since November 2012. Creamer says the restaurant is doing well and despite having “a bit of bad hype the first week because people were worried we had taken away their cheap breakfast,” the Whippoorwill has become part of the community.
Open for brunch on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays, this casual diner fills up quickly with hungover locals looking for their fill. There's always the option for a standard two-eggs-any-style breakfast ($9.00), but how could anyone resist the other menu items?
Seated at an old-fashioned shiny red booth, you can’t help but notice the old school atmosphere that fills the room — from the carafe-like vases with flowers sitting on the table to the black and white checkered floors, this place is fun. Not to mention the large painting of Dale’s Restaurant hung in homage to the previous inhabitants of 1285 Bloor Street West, a very classy nod to the space.
The breakfast bruschetta ($8.50) is served on crusty bread and has a zesty drizzle over buffalo ricotta with whatever daily fixings are available — in this case, heirloom tomatoes with arugula. The poached eggs ($14) are served on a buttermilk biscuit with house-smoked maple bacon and an amazing tomato hollandaise.
As I devour my breakfast, I watch the servers punch orders in on their iPads — a digital movement that's hitting the service industry very quickly. Another server bustles past me holding what must be the apple pancakes ($13), which look decadent and light at the same time.
Having been open for just under a year now, Creamer says The Whippoorwill's main focus has always been on dinner and drinks, and the nights have really picked up. It’s not hard to see why, as the menu ranges from vegetable dishes to raw items to comfort foods. Just to name a few dishes, there's tzatziki salad ($8.50), beef Carpaccio ($13.50), and Thai flank steak ($17.00).
The menu is small but extremely appealing and doesn’t over do it the way large menus sometimes can. Smaller menus like this one manage to show that The Whippoorwill chose only its best and specialty items for the menu.
Creamer is also the co-owner of The Dakota Tavern, but he spends a lot of time at The Whippoorwill, where he serves and bartends.
True to his class, Creamer kept up the brunch tradition because “the space was always intended for breakfast.” I think the neighbourhood has been truly thankful. Living down the road, I know I've appreciated having this diner around, and as Creamer says, “Everyone loves a nice greasy spoon breakfast; it’s the best cure for a hangover.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.