The Tilted Dog Pub & Kitchen
By YP Contributor

‘Local, Local, Local’

The Local Gest’s four owners (Gary, Eric, Sean and Tiffany, or GEST) aren’t your typical Toronto restaurateurs. The four locavore business partners own an acre of land in Sutton, Ontario, where they grow vegetables for their Cabbagetown restaurant.

Established in 2013 in the former Ben Wicks space on Parliament Street, The Local Gest takes pride in supporting homegrown craft breweries and Ontario farmers — it’s all “local, local, local,” says owner Tiffany Smith.

The chef, Javier, says this farm-to-table approach is his dream. “This is what I love,” he says. “As a chef, to be able to grow your own food, cook it and present it on the table…I love converting food into smiles.”

“We’re The Local Gest, G-E-S-T. All that’s missing is ‘u.’” - Tiffany Smith, co-owner
The Local Gest, restaurant, Cabbagetown, local food, craft beer, farm-to-table cuisine
Owner Tiffany Smith runs the store with three business partners. “It’s like a four-way marriage,” she says.

A Fresh Coat of Paint

The Local Gest took over the Parliament Street space from the owners of Ben Wicks, the underground pub and restaurant originally owned by the late Canadian cartoonist himself. Ben Wicks had been run independently for over 30 years.

After stripping off the yellow wallpaper and re-vamping the menu, the owners of The Local Gest have welcomed back some of the regular customers who used to frequent the pub, and the former owner, Robert, visits when he can.

The Local Gest, restaurant, Cabbagetown, local food, craft beer, farm-to-table cuisine
The spacious restaurant has both a dining room and a bar. For private events, people can book the dining room, but “spill into the bar” as the night goes on, Tiffany says.

Ontario Ingredients with a Mexican Twist

The Local Gest’s menu offers a range of classic dishes, including burgers, pasta, steak, sandwiches, a cheese board and charcuterie. But diners will find that some of the menu items have a decidedly Mexican twist: the po’boy is topped with red salsa, for example, and the list of appetizers includes totopos (tortilla chips) and mariscos (seafood).

Chef Javier used to run a restaurant in Mexico and says he enjoys bringing the food of his homeland to multicultural Toronto. He’s a creative chef and really lets himself go on Sunday nights when The Local Gest serves tapas and hosts a live band. “When you come to see live music, maybe you don’t want to eat a big meal,” Javier says. So he makes small plates like habanero and mango shrimp, goat cheese and shallots on focaccia, and Spanish chorizo with fresh chimichurri (a Latin-American parsley relish). Tapas night is “when I get creative,” Javier says, “it’s when I go crazy.”

The Local Gest, restaurant, Cabbagetown, local food, craft beer, farm-to-table cuisine
The Local Gest is located at 424 Parliament Street.

Local Craft Beer

Besides serving flavourful local cuisine, The Local Gest also pulls pints of craft beer from Wellington Brewery, Mill Street, and other Ontario brewers, including the Local Gest Lager made exclusively for the restaurant by Guelph’s Wellington Brewery.

A tasting flight of four beers (served in 7 oz. glasses) is $11.50 including tax, and beer lovers are able to choose any four of the 12 beers on tap. The 12th tap, Tiffany notes, is a rotating guest star — always from a local brewer, of course.

“We’ve got our local family,” she says. “And as Sean likes to say, we’re The Local Gest, G-E-S-T. All that’s missing is ‘u.’”

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