Drake Commissary: Toronto’s Hippest New Hangout

If you’d have told me that The Drake would open a hub in the Junction Triangle when I moved to the area eight years ago, I would have laughed. When my family moved from Queen West to Dundas (really) West, I figured my postal code had lost its cool factor for good—and my distance from The Drake’s chicken and waffles was my best indication.

Fast-forward to 2017, and the Junction Triangle might just be Toronto’s new Queen West. And there’s no better indication of this hood’s hip status than the Drake’s new bakery/bar/larder, Drake Commissary.

The 8,000-square-foot Drake outpost on Sterling Road has been branded as a “creative culinary hub and production kitchen.” In other words, Drake Commissary isn’t an easy thing to describe: It’s a grab-and-go coffee and croissant spot, a basecamp for ladies (with strollers) who lunch, a gourmet takeaway counter and a trendy after-hours cocktail lounge. It’s your birthday party go-to, your remote office and your specialty grocery store all in one.

Perhaps the Commissary’s most impressive feat is that it doesn’t feel like it’s trying to be too many things at once—even though it is. Because, at the heart of it all (which I think might be the photo booth?!), Drake Commissary is just a cool place to hang out.

I mean, come on, just look at that ’60s-inspired living room set-up! Grab a spot near an outlet, order a boozy cocktail and channel your inner Don Draper; I can’t think of a better place to fuel your creative energy.

Which is why FASHION chose Drake Commissary for its summer editorial planning session. Our 9-to-5 workday consisted of eating, drinking our weight in carrot-ginger-turmeric juice, brainstorming, more eating and then cocktail-making. And, after all that, I opted to hang around the gastro wonderland to have dinner with my mom.

Food highlights from my eight-hour tasting trip included the small-batch house-made granola, the blackened jerk chicken sandwich, and the avocado, lemon and Gruyère tartine (which is just a really fancy way of saying avotoast). Oh, and the miso cauliflower (served with with house-fermented black garlic, crème fraîche, cashews, lime and cilantro) is a umami flavour bomb that definitely can’t be missed. Don’t skip out on the butter either—I don’t know what they did to that butter, but I could’ve eaten it with a spoon.

Realistically, you’ll want to keep going back until you’ve tried the entire menu.

Perhaps the best part of all is that you can take the Drake-stamped goods home with you. Just make sure to put them out on display to up your kitchen’s cool factor.

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