RESTAURANT REVIEW: Local Public Eatery | Leaside
I was of two minds when I heard that Local Leaside was opening. It’s my opinion that the area does not need yet another chain, however based on what I was seeing on their Instagram account they were doing a VERY cool job on the interior of an historic building. And although it is this reviewers preference to explore chef owned restaurants, I was interested in how this larger chain would handle the task of truly becoming a “local”.
My first visit was opening weekend and was impromptu, yet they were quickly able to accommodate us. We chose to sit on the upper patio with the retractable roof. And what does any self respecting patio goer do on a Saturday afternoon? You order a beer and wings of course! They serve them up hot only and were quite respectable. The pulled pork poutine however was heaven-sent… and this coming from a frequent visitor to the home of meat and poutine… Smoke Meat Pete’s west of Montreal.
My second visit was planned specifically with this review in mind. The line was long, but I can only assume that it is due to the relative fervour from the area residents over the newness. Everyone loves a brand new watering hole.
The atmosphere was upbeat and yet relaxed. The interior funky and with the eight TVs (surprisingly unobtrusively) surrounding the room it’s clearly marking itself as the spot to be for “THE BIG GAME” . The staff were calm and efficient amid the excitement of the guests. They were knowledgeable and professional as is expected in a chain of this size, but it was personal and genuine, so again I was won over regardless of the formula I knew they must be following.
On to the important details;
The Bloody Caesar was in a word excellent – horseradish was offered but declined by my dining companion, a mistake in this reviewers opinion, but I appreciated that our waiter mentioned it.
The cocktail menu highlight was a mystery wine by the glass, red or white, which changes weekly. The staff swear they don’t know what it is, and promise it isn’t dregs. I suspect it was a shiraz and it was quite delicious. And at $4.50 a glass you can’t go wrong!
Appetizers run the gamut from the expected southwest meets Asian flavour profiles with some very pleasant surprises in the form of cooked-to-perfection yam fries with a lemon mayonnaise and truffle oil.
As expected the salads offer a variety of caesar wrap, an Asian inspired, and a south-west selection. The small sharing plates follow much the same path. The choice of sandwiches were tempting but ultimately this reviewer believes that the sign of a true “local” is the seriousness with which they take their burgers.
I was 100% correct to not only order the burger but also to keep it simple… cheddar only… I had requested medium rare, but damn those health regulations I was presented (with apologies) a medium well and an explanation that it’s all they serve. It didn’t matter much as the burger was hand patted and juicy, the bun hearty, fresh and flavourful and the accompaniments crisp and exceptionally tasty… not sure what’s in their special sauce but I will definitely be ordering that again.
In the end I’ll give Local a solid 3.5. As an epilogue I’d like to point out that on the walk past the smaller but longer standing Leaside Pub right next door, I noted it is clearly not suffering as a result of its new neighbours arrival… the tables were packed with the loyal.
Local Public Eatery, 180 Laird Drive
The overall average rating was [yasr_overall_rating size=”medium”]
This is how they ranked:
Atmosphere – 3.5
Service – 3.5
Food Source – 2.5
Taste – 3
Cost – 4.5
Vibe – The place you’ll definitely run into someone you know.
Stacia Carlton is a culinary school graduate and food writer. She shares her passion for all things food at bestillandeat.com