Ex-Drake chef goes for comfort

[attach]6647[/attach]On the day of his 30th birthday ex-Drake Hotel chef Anthony Rose opened the doors to his own restaurant.

“I think what we’re doing is really going back to the stone-age in terms of food — we just offer good food and good booze in a good comfortable place for people to have a good time in,” Rose says from a booth after the lunch crowd has dwindled down. “We’re showcasing some really funky, rustic, kind of country food that I’ve always really wanted to do.”

At the end of November Rose and Sons took over the location from People’s Foods, which had been a neighbourhood staple on Dupont Street near Davenport Road for nearly 50 years. Although the space was renovated, they maintained the iconic outdoor “hamburgers” signage.

“We were just looking for a really cool spot,” he says. “My brother lives down the street and he showed me the sign on the window saying they were gone and I just started stalking the landlord … I grew up not too far from here, Avenue Road and Eglinton, so this really was my stomping grounds so it was cool to be back.”

Although some items on the comfort food inspired menu change weekly, a popular dish has been the patty melt, which consists of a patty in a grilled cheese sandwich then topped with fried onions.

Before going on to hold a six-year position at the Drake Hotel, Rose worked in New York City and San Francisco, where he moved to gain more classic culinary training after working in the city for notable chefs such as David Lee and Mark McEwan.

“That’s where a lot of my initial food background comes from, which is just kind of cook good simple food, do very little to it and just have a good time doing it,” he says of his time in San Francisco.

In time for spring, Rose hopes to have a patio opened and plans to add additional Rose and Sons locations around the city.

While Rose, who hopes customers leave with a smile and a full belly, only has one son, Simon, he called the restaurant Rose and Sons because it sounded better, he says.

“But it’s cool because all the other people that work with me now have all become my sons so it’s like one big crazy family,” he says, adding his business partner and chef Chris Sanderson has been invaluable. “I couldn’t do anything without that guy. He’s the guts, the glory, the skin and bones behind this place.”