The Federal
By YP Contributor

An Homage to Fast Food Classics

The brunch menu at The Federal is just one page long. It’s not massive, but it allows the Dundas Street West restaurant to do something that few other dining spots in Toronto can claim to do — nearly everything they serve, from the ketchup to their main dishes, is handcrafted.

“Pretty much everything is made from scratch,” says Zach Slootsky, The Federal’s co-owner. “If it’s not made from scratch it’s for a deliberate reason. For example, French’s mustard is just such a classic.”

With a daily brunch menu that remains consistent, The Federal’s dinner menu is a testament to their versatility. Constantly changing, it’s based on the seasonality of produce and the chefs’ whims. But one thing always remains the same—in a dining landscape where the focus is on innovation, The Federal is getting back to basics, serving homemade dishes with a fast food flare.

“It’s got that mix of fast food and taking a lot of care for your food,” says Zach. “I think it's a restaurant that doesn't take itself too seriously.”

I think it's a restaurant that doesn't take itself too seriously. - Zach Slootsky, co-owner
The Federal

The Perfect Choice for a “Morning-After” Brunch

It’s this approachability that has allowed “the Fed” to quickly become a neighbourhood favourite for both late-night drinks and the requisite morning-after brunch.

With its rich creamy mushroom tarragon sauce, the Eggs Federal — a twist on eggs benedict — seems designed just for this purpose. “If I’m ever hungover, I’ll usually gravitate towards that,” admits Zach.

But even for the non-drinking crowd, there are plenty of homemade options, including house-made soda pops. The root beer is crafted from a combination of sassafras, sarsaparilla and birch, while the watermelon lemonade has become a seasonal classic.

The Federal

Planting a Family Tree

While The Federal has become tied to the fabric of the Dundas West strip, the restaurant isn’t siloed. Zach owes much of their success to their common lineage with other restaurants throughout Toronto. Both front-of-house and back-of-house staff have come from College Street’s Woodlot, as well as Toronto institution Terroni. Zach himself worked at brunch favourites, Aunties and Uncles, and Swan, before he opened The Federal. And with each of the staff comes the recipes and the dishes that have made the restaurant a success. Take for instance their ketchup, which comes from a classic Aunties and Uncles recipe.

“It’s almost like legacy items,” says Zach of some of their trademark items. “I really like that it’s almost like a family tree. It’s nice to think of a restaurant as part of a larger restaurant story in Toronto.”

And from The Federal comes new growth. In 2014, The Federal’s night chef purchased The Rivoli, a popular restaurant and pool hall on Queen West, which Zach refers to as the first “strong branch” of their tree.

“Now we’re higher up on the family tree,” he explains. “It makes us bigger than just a restaurant.”

The Federal
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