Schnitzel Hub European Bistro
By YP Contributor

A Burst of Eastern European Fare in Mid-Town Toronto

Rita Khlafon and her husband, chef Yan Khlafon, spent years travelling around Eastern Europe. When they finally settled in Toronto, Rita, who is originally from the Ukraine, and Yan, who hails from Russia, noticed the lack of Eastern European restaurants throughout the city.

In 2012, they opened the first Schnitzel Hub at Yonge and Steeles in Toronto, which was meant to be a grab-and-go takeout place serving homemade schnitzels with a few creative twists. “Our customers kept telling us that the food was amazing and that they wanted to enjoy it with a beer or wine,” recalls Rita, who immediately applied for a liquor license to meet the needs of their customers. Schnitzel Hub at Yonge and Steeles — originally a fast-food schnitzel eatery — was then renovated into a cozy sit-down

Enter the Schnitzel Hub on Yonge and St. Clair, Rita and Yan’s midtown offshoot, catering to everyone in the area from families and the corporate crowd to those who simply want to enjoy the refreshing new flavours of Eastern Europe.

All the schnitzels are the same but the toppings are different – and toppings make a huge difference. - Rita Khalfon, Co-owner
Schnitzel Hub is an Eastern European restaurant in the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood in Toronto

A Schnitzel for Every Tastebud

For those not familiar with schnitzel, it’s a traditional Austrian/German dish: boneless meat (the Viennese choice is usually veal) that’s tenderized and pounded thin. It’s then coated in egg, flour and bread crumbs, and fried. “My favourite is the Jaeger schnitzel,” says Rita with a smile, which comes topped with bacon, mushrooms and a red wine sauce. It’s best accompanied with the spaetzle, a traditional German pasta.

But there’s certainly something for everyone, says Rita, who always asks her customers whether they prefer a saucier schnitzel or something drier: “All the schnitzels are the same but the toppings are different — and toppings make a huge difference,” she says.

Rita and Yan also offer up a hearty Hungarian goulash soup, Polish/Ukranian pierogies and cabbage rolls, an Eastern European favourite.

The bar at the Schnitzel Hub showcases Rita and Yan's array of house-infused vodka

House-Infused Vodka Galore

Along with the overall charm and homey feelings one gets after stepping into the Schitzel Hub at Yonge and St. Clair, with its dark wooden bar and touches of Eastern Europe, is the exceptional display of vodka. And we’re not talking just any old vodka served straight in a chilled glass; we’re talking about boldly flavoured, house-infused vodka, crafted by Rita and Yan.

“We take high-quality triple-distilled vodka and then we infuse it with different berries, fruits, roots or any combination of flavours that we can come up with,” says Rita. The result? An array of delights: lemon-ginger, honey-chili, strawberry-mint — you name it. Rita insists that their vodka is made especially for people who don’t actually drink vodka. “You don’t taste the vodka flavour, but it’s still 40 per cent alcohol,” she laughs.

Schnitzel Hub - Yonge and St. Clair restaurants, schnitzel, borscht
The Schnitzel Hub is situated in the Yonge and St. Clair neighbourhood
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