Restaurant Opening: OLD SCHOOL
Genuine classics are served around the clock at Old School – a 24/7 Americana-style diner where the food is the real deal. A joint effort between Executive Chef and Co-Owner Brad Moore (School) and Chef de Cuisine Ian Kapitan, Old School is the newest kid on the restaurant block at Dundas and Palmerston, located in the former Hudson Kitchen space.
Old School is so much more than your typical diner – it’s a cocktail bar, soda fountain bar, BBQ joint, general store, bakery, and late night bar all in one. Celebrating and elevating home-style classics, Old School is the kind of accessible spot where you can pick from a revolving menu of breakfast and brunch items, all-day BBQ, lunch items, baked goods, and American favourites, 24 hours a day. We were lucky enough to sample a variety of items from the menu and kickin’ it old school has never tasted so good.
The moment you walk into Old School, you feel nostalgia for simpler times of the Leave it to Beaver era. The black and white walls, patterned benches, and cheeky sayings written in neon lights are signature to Moore’s retro style. A soda bar greets you at the front where cocktails, malted shakes, and phosphate sodas are crafted with tender loving care. All the cool kids are drinking Old School’s organic homemade sodas these days, made with Organic Fair Soda Syrups imported from British Columbia. A comfy dining room at the back leads into the general store, where guests can order takeout, freshly baked goods, and even a neighbourly “cup-a-sugar.”
We began with Old School’s Hickory Chick Salad, which mixes arugula, apple sticks, hickory chicken, mustard leaf, and cider dressing for a delightful starter. The Carolina sandwich came next, which combines Low n’ Slow pulled pork with crunchy chips and slaw on a soft roll for an appetizing variety of textures.
The Blueberry Hill from the “Mom Can’t Make This” section might just be the greatest thing since sliced bread. This 24/7 breakfast item combines hotcake griddles with fresh blueberries, butchers crack, whipped brown sugar butter, and loads of maple syrup to make one stand out dish. In case you were wondering, butcher’s crack is sugar-cured house smoked bacon – and it’s called “crack” for a reason.
For the main event, we tasted a variety of mouth-watering Southern-style meats from the “Be Neighbourly” section, which has platters to share from 4pm until midnight. The Posse Picnic has enough grub for the whole gang, with a rack of St. Louis spare ribs, a hickory smoked quartered chicken, beef brisket, pulled pork, four classic sides, and four biscuits. The patiently smoked and perfectly barbecued meat was delicious, and the dryribs really stood out for their incredible hickory smoked flavour.
Not to be overlooked were the classic and comforting sides from the “Salads, Sides, and All-Stars” section. The ooey gooey Mac & Cheese cobbler topped with bacon crumble truly hit the spot, and the Cantina Corn smeared with ancho chilli, chipotle cream, cotija cheese and lime was fresh and tasty. And don’t get us started on the cheddar chive buttermilk biscuits – because they were heavenly! You can stock up on a variety of back-in-the-day baked goods, like the blueberry crumble muffin, at Old School’s quaint general store.
Available 24/7, Old School’s list of “Delightful Desserts” will always be there for you when you need a sweet treat. The Broken Dreams Sundae, with pretzel pieces, warm caramel, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream, was one for the books.
One thing you can’t miss about Old School is the comical neon flying pig attached to the back wall. Chef Kapitan explained how Old School represents a place where pigs can fly– where the possibilities are endless. All in all, Old School is an approachable 24/7 diner, where you can enjoy updated versions of your favourite feel-good eats.