by Kristina Groeger

The last time I was at 1566 Queen Street West I was buying screwdrivers, not drinking them. The hardware store turned restaurant / club, Parts and Labour had their opening June 10 and I had the pleasure of attending the event and meeting all of the hard working people responsible for creating this amazing new spot.

Parts and Labour is the new playground for Queen West-West fashionistas, foodies and various types of artists looking for a place to let loose. Whether you want to take your wife and kids out for dinner, peruse art on a first date or rock out with live bands in their basement, P&L doesn’t discriminate. This place has something for everyone.

The party is a-buzz. Everyone is dressed to impress. The partnered fabulous four (Richard Lambert, Jesse Girard, Brian Richer and Kei Ng) are looking very good suited in Dries Van Noten, Prada, Belstaff leather and various vintage. Richard takes a second to note that his underwear are from Topman. Brian has a custom made belt buckle with a P&L stamp.

George Clooney’s tattooed bartender doppelganger , Paul serves up Caprioska cocktails and red and white wine with a smile. Meanwhile, Chef Matthew James Matheson and Sous Chef Matt Demille nurse beers while casually directing the kitchen brigade. This is the day they’ve been waiting and working so hard for. They are sending out a plethora of delicious bites:

– Horse tartare on fried Yukon gold chip

– Pulled pork with pear remoulade on brioche

– Beet tartare (yellow and red), pear, blue cheese on endive

– Crispy pig face with house made mustard, pickles

– Crispy pig’s ear with hard boiled egg, radish and buffalo hot sauce

– Smoked Trout, chive creme fraiche, pickled chipolini and amaranth sprouts

– Freshly shucked oysters from Oyster Boy

Wondering about the enormous rooftop garden, I take an appetizer from the same plate as P&L’s gardener and cook Katie Mathieu. She explains it takes 7 – 14 days for sprouts to appear and 2 weeks for her micro-greens to be big enough for harvest. Katie is also a classically trained cook and works in the kitchen of P&L. This restaurant is bringing local to an entirely new level.

May Mr. Halbert, the former hardware store owner have a splendid retirement.

Kistina Groeger is a professional cook, amateur photographer, part time food writer and full time nerd. Her website address is