The Butler's Pantry Inc
By YP Contributor

Ahead of the Culinary Curve

There's a taste of everything at Butler's Pantry: Comfort foods like mac and cheese and French toast, yes, but also khowsway from Burma, chicken bastilla pie from Morocco, and Korean bulgogi, which has been widely touted as the best in Toronto.

“We introduced foreign food, as I'll call it, to the Canadian palate long before it became popular,” says Atique Azad, who took over the original restaurant — a former bakery on Roncesvalles Avenue — in 1995. “Thai food is obviously very popular, but now everyone is talking about Burmese food. We've had khowsway for more than 15 years now. People still can't pronounce it, but they love it!”

There are two Butler's Pantry locations, the second springing up on bucolic Markham Street in 2004. Both feature the same warm, homey ambiance, friendly, enthusiastic service (Atique says he likes to give young people a chance so they can gain work experience), and an eclectic, international menu that covers brunch, lunch and dinner. Both locations sell bottles of the salad dressing for which the eateries are deservedly famous. Plus the Markham location, it should be noted, boasts a gorgeous front patio.

We don't tone things down. We do our best to make our dishes authentic. - Atique Azad, owner
Butler's Pantry, International food, brunch, lunch, dinner, salad dressing, delivery, take-out

The Real Deal

All this would be enough to entice any diner, but there’s more: Butler’s Pantry's prices are famously reasonable. “This has been a double-edged sword for us,” Atique says, “because some people look at our menu and say, 'Look at how cheap the prices are! The food can't be very good.’ So if I jack up the prices they'll come in? I can't do that because I might lose my hugely loyal customer base.”

Over the years, Atique has seen the same satisfied faces over and over again: The father and son who always order the tandoori chicken penne; the Moroccans who say their mothers can’t make a better chicken bastilla pie; and the Toronto Life readers who have been flocking to Butler's Pantry after the venerable magazine declared its bulgogi to be the best in town. Vegetarian options aren’t an afterthought, either, with the spinach nut casserole, among other meat-free items, becoming a veggie staple.

Butler's Pantry, International food, brunch, lunch, dinner, salad dressing, delivery, take-out

A Taste of Home

Unlike other eateries that offer a smattering of Canadianized international fare, Atique says, “We don't tone things down. We do our best to make our dishes authentic.”

Butler’s Pantry's hospitality is authentic, too. “I'm a people person,” Atique says. “Being a host is built into my DNA. This is an extension of my home.”

Butler's Pantry, International food, brunch, lunch, dinner, salad dressing, delivery, take-out
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