Downtown Meets the West End at the Sugo x The Chase Fish & Oyster Pop-Up Dinner Service
Our wind-down recommendations are a great way to forget about a grueling work day. This week, make reservations to chow down on Bloordale’s finest in the vicinity of Bay Streeters.
When: Wednesday, February 20, 2019
Where it’s located: Floor 1, 10 Temperance Street, Toronto, ON M5H 1Y4
Why visit: A first—hopefully of many—for Chase Hospitality Group, the evening will include Sugo favorites served at The Chase Fish & Oyster as well as menu items exclusive to the pop-up.
Fitting to the nature of the West End restaurant’s notorious marketing, it all started on Instagram.
Sugo, an Italian-American restaurant in Bloordale Village, is just as famous for causing a stir on Instagram as it is for its red sauce. Its main offence? Innocent images (paired with cheeky captions) of the restaurant’s own fare—plated over its classic red and white checkered tablecloth—that are geo-tagged to the locations of other venerable (or not-so-venerable) spots around the city.
When the people behind Terroni caught wind that their locations were being tagged on Instagram with plates of Sugo pasta, they privately asked for it to stop over direct message. Not only did the person running the Sugo account allegedly decline, they politely asked for the popular Toronto establishment to cut their pizza—a slight at something Terroni refuses to do for any of their guests.
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@terronito doesn't like me Geo Tagging them, They also don't like Seafood and cheese! Sooooooooooooo, Pasta Special Tonight is SHIRMP, CHEESE, TOMATO. Come in Order it, Snap a pic and Geo Tag @terronito and I'll buy you a GLASS OF WINE. #cut #my #pizza #your #authentic #italian #im #authentic #neighborhood #westside #toronto #sugo #boxing #muaythai #watchyourstep #seafood #and #cheese #bro #pit #my #olives
While the exchange may have not gone over well at Terroni H.Q., it did spark interest across town at Chase Hospitality Group.
“Myself and some other people from the restaurant had frequented Sugo a few times, and were fans of the location and the crew,” says Felicia De Rose, Chef de Cuisine at The Chase Fish & Oyster. “I usually hang out in the West End on Dundas Street or Bloor Street. Being there and bringing that vibe to the Financial District felt natural.”
On February 20, the pop-up service will run from 5 pm until quantities sell out. The goal is to serve a mix of guests, and bring the trendy into a high-end dining space. De Rose says some Chase regulars who are familiar with Sugo through Instagram but have yet to venture out west to the restaurant are expected to attend. Guests can expect a true blend of the two restaurants with “classic Sugo sauce on everything” and a whole lot of seafood.
“We knew we wanted to have Sugo influence a lot on the menu, since people recognize them, and expect a certain taste and look. And, we wanted to throw in the seafood, shell fish and oysters to stick to our brand,” De Rose says. “[With] cooking, we’re the same. My style is very home-y and rustic. In terms of vocation, that’s where it separates.”
The menu for the evening includes Clams Casino, Seafood Pasta, and the chef’s favourite: Oysters Rockefeller designed by Connor Joerin of Sugo. The item features shucked oysters, with bacon lardon, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and parsley, quickly salamandered for two minutes.
“Hopefully its going to be one of the biggest sellers of the night.”
But, the true accomplishment of the evening will be the partnership. Mutual respect for other restaurants and chefs is lacking in the city, says De Rose.
“It’s hard for restaurants to join forces sometimes,” says De Rose. “It’s nice to break away from the certain cliques in the restaurant world and have two people come together to make people happy through food.”