On the rather unassuming corner of Gerrard and Logan, the small, white-shingled Saturday Dinette would be easy to miss if it weren’t for the classic records and animated chatter that can be heard drifting through the propped-open door when the weather's right.
Once you’ve walked in, you’re all but guaranteed to see Suzanne Barr, chef and owner of Saturday Dinette, hard at work in the open kitchen at the rear. If you weren’t hungry before, watching her carefully stack the 80/20 Burger ($15) with beef and lamb patties, a crispy Parmesan wafer, mint chimichurri and strawberry ketchup will have you salivating in no time.
The atmosphere is very nonchalant and cool, inspiring a gem-like quality amongst this intimate 30-seater. The space is a modern take on diners of there past. The menu is carefully curated to ensure all ingredients are 'good, clean and fair,' a concept Barr is passionate about. The selection is small, but each dish is comprised of many compelling and creative elements to appeal to a range of palettes.
Take the coconut mac n’ cheese ($11), for instance, which offers a playful take on the comfort staple. The orange anise glaze on the ribs & greens ($19) is unconventional, but a welcome change to your run-of-the-mill barbecue sauce.
Saturday Dinette is open at 5 p.m. for dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. A Sunday brunch sitting runs from 10 a.m to 3 p.m., and it's a special occasion not to be missed. The restaurant's take on the classic Monte Cristo ($14) combines brined pork belly with peanut butter and concord grape compote. Not to be outdone, the trout hash ($13) is a butter-poached filet served with summer roti and a fried egg. Neighbourhood internet chatter talks up the dinette's buckwheat pancakes ($11) with maple thyme butter and orange blossom ricotta.
As this once faded stretch of Gerrard continues to welcome new and inspired businesses, it's clear that Saturday Dinette has become an integral part of the area's revitalization. Case in point: Not only is Saturday Dinette serving up thoughtful and sustainable offerings, it has become intertwined in the community through its philanthropic work with the YWCA. Some of the staff bustling away in the kitchen have been placed into a training program, learning on the job alongside Barr. Through this employment program, the dinette is helping to empower women in the neighbourhood.