In the heart of the Junction, where High Park meets Dundas, you’ll find 3030 Dundas West. This restaurant, bar and venue is popular among easy-going Junction types for its vintage pinball, killer craft beer selection and local food.
As the beer and marketing manager, Jeff Kelly is the brains behind the selection of craft brews at 3030, which opened its doors in 2012. “While we were constructing, I had dads from the neighbourhood coming by on pat leave,” explains Jeff. “And they would ask what we were putting in. Usually I’d ask them what they’d like to see.” Answers in mind, the team settled on craft beer, vintage pinball, small plates and a laid-back attitude. They’ve since expanded their food repertoire to include dinner mains and brunch, with their menu taking on a seasonal, local focus. The beer list is one of the most stacked in the city, with new kegs getting tapped daily. The list is Ontario heavy, a 3030 mandate, with unique one-offs popping up from local breweries like High Park Brewery and Junction Craft Brewing.
The 3030 space is quintessential Junction cool, channeling dive bar and dark haunt with hints of hip. The front of the restaurant is unassuming, with a roll-up garage window for a small, two-table patio. Inside, you’ll find those impressively high ceilings, three rotating pinball machines and a couple of couches and chairs where customers can often be found playing a round or two of Jenga over pints. The craft list is displayed on a near floor-to-ceiling chalkboard, with taps often replaced with something new. The rest of the room is dedicated to tables and chairs with banquet seating. And the works of local artists are often displayed on the exposed brick walls.
By night, the food is divided into small plates and mains. The menu is affordable, with small plates at $5 to $8, and meals are simple, with slight twists or fancy finishes that meld perfectly with the neighbourhood vibe. The most popular dish are the wedge fries: crispy and crunchy on the outside, perfectly soft on the inside, with a house-made morita mayonnaise on the side. For a heavier meal option, opt for the beef tartare with lotus root chips, the Lil’ Crunch Sandwich – fried chicken served on a soft milk bun – or the two-day smoked pulled pork sandwich with house-made slaw. All of this is worth salivating over and perfect for pairing with a pint or two.
Dinner mains keep in line with the laid-back attitude and offer standards like fish and chips, Reuben sandwiches and smokehouse back ribs. They’ve got a meat-heavy menu with scallop and clam linguine to lighten things up. 3030’s brunch has received rave reviews and lots of attention thanks to their generous portions and solid list of potents: brunch bevies to get your day going. All your egg classics are here, too, like the 3030 Benny, two eggs, any style, and junior breakfast options for the kids. Get cozy on a cold winter morning with buttermilk waffles, poached pear and apple coulis paired with a Stoutspresso, a stout pint with a shot of espresso.
3030 varies in traffic based on the night. On a given weekday, it’s a casual haunt for locals to grab a pint and some snacks. Bear in mind, Wednesday is an exception – at 8 pm, it’s 3030 Trivia Night sponsored by Junction Craft Brewing. 3030 has seen as many as 80 to 100 people come in for their Wednesday trivia, enough to pull the curtain back and open the entire venue.
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays are typically booked for bands, DJs and musical sets playing jazz, funk, soul, hip-hop, indie, alternative rock, pop and more. There’s family movie nights on Sundays with free popcorn and seats for the kids, so parents can grab a pint and take a load off for a couple hours. Movies that have been screened so far include kid favourites like Frozen and Inside Out. Tip: it’s always worth checking 3030’s online schedule to see what’s going on a given night.
The Junction has a small neighbourhood vibe, even though it’s well within the city limits. “This is a very community-driven neighbourhood,” explains Jeff. 3030 offers a bit of something for everyone, with kid-friendly snacks like potato wedges and mac ’n’ cheese, and games like pinball and Jenga. Parents can stop in for brunch, hand the kids a fistful of quarters and send them off to the machines while the food is preparing.
With their close ties to Junction Craft Brewing and other local breweries, 3030 is a strong believer in supporting other local businesses. If you need a suggestion for where to go after your stop at 3030, Jeff and his crew can help. “We always encourage people to visit to other places in the Junction,” says Jeff. “If there’s a market or event, we tell people to go check it out.”