Meet the owner

Conor Jorein gives a short history of Bloordale off the top of his head, while he’s butchering a stack of pastured meat from a nearby Ontario farm. The veteran chef—trained at the likes of Pastis, The Nose, Ortolan and Campagnolo—is one-half of the two-man team behind The Emerson Restaurant. He, alongside co-owner Scott Pennock, can be found in The Emerson’s envy-inspiring open kitchen seven days a week—usually sporting a bowtie—and cooking everything from fresh pasta Italian specials to jerk-style lamb shank to the legendary Emerson beef wellington.

The Emerson first opened its doors in January 2013, after an extensive renovation to a run-down and largely under-used space. Scott and Conor worked side-by-side to expose original brick walls, reface the front of the building, set up a gorgeous twenty foot wrap-around bar, and fill the lofty space with fascinating antiques, vintage family photographs, charming low-lit lighting and a smattering of wall hangings by local Toronto artists. “We want to be a space where people can feel relaxed,” Conor explains, “and you’ll see that with our servers, our chefs, and our customers.”

Conor is a long-time Bloordale-dweller and a quick look at The Emerson’s unique cocktail menu shows how he and Scott are paying tribute to their favourite businesses in the village, both old and new. Try the sweet and spicy Caribbean Queen cocktail or the Mexican-inspired Zoccalo (named after the beloved but now-closed neighbourhood bistro down the street).

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    Love the spot. G...

    Love the spot. Great service and menu selection. Fantastic burger!

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    Appears in 2 Smart Lists

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    Laid back restaurants for a fun first date in Toronto

    Laid back restaurants for a fun first date in Toronto

    You’ll probably have to make a reservation if you want to ensure you’ll nab a seat at this trendy Bloordale eatery, but you and your date will be happy you thought ahead. The seasonal dinner menu features mouthwatering mains like crispy Asian-style chicken, braised lamb shank with homemade gnocchi, and steak frites. Tip: save the signature Emerson burger (served with a delicious-yet-drippy Beemster cheese sauce) for another visit to avoid making a mess and embarrassing yourself in front of your dinner companion.

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    Satisfy your appetite in Toronto's Bloordale neighbourhood

    Satisfy your appetite in Toronto's Bloordale neighbourhood

    There are plenty of meaty mains on the food menu at this buzz-worthy restaurant (think fall-off-the-bone lamb shank, flat iron steak with béarnaise) but it’s the diverse array of vegetable sides that’ll win you over. Your best bet: order your choice of five sides (for $25) and sample a vegetable medley featuring flavourful rapini seasoned with chilies, lemon and garlic and a pile of shaved Brussels sprouts cooked with pancetta and Asiago. The local spot is also known for its night specials: buck-a-shuck oysters on Monday; tartare on Tuesdays and hearty roast dinners on Sundays.

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