McSorley’s Saloon and Grill re-opens today, proving to be a Leaside restaurant that COVID restrictions can’t take down.
The popular bar and eatery opened its doors in the summer of 1991 but chose to temporarily close them on Jan. 11 this year.
“The time has come where it is no longer reasonable under the current restrictions to stay open for takeout only,” McSorley’s posted to its Instagram page then.
“When the province decided to extend Christmas break, they closed the schools and a lot of us have young families, including myself,” general manager Avery Barker says now. “We needed to be at home for virtual learning with our kids. It was an opportunity for a few of us to recharge our batteries so to speak as we had been going strong since we were shut down [for inside dining] in March of 2020.”
Today brings a new vibe for McSorley’s after revamping their menu and doing more with less.
“We have had to scrap a lot of the labour-intensive items, that either have a lot of ingredients that tend to go bad after a few days, or items that take a longer time to cook to order,” Barker says.
Fan favourites, like fresh ground chuck burgers and flame-grilled chicken wings, are listed on the new takeout menu to satisfy their regular Bayview-Leaside customers.
Barker is “not a fan” of food delivery apps because of the fees they charge to customers and restaurants. Yet it was one service they had to implement due to public health restrictions.
McSorley’s patrons can rest assured their signature dishes are still available for takeout.
“We have our own online ordering system for our own in-house takeout orders,” Barker says. “People have taken a liking to it and it has helped us tremendously throughout the pandemic. You can only be on the phone with so many people at a time. This allows multiple orders to be placed all at once.”
While stay-at-home orders are in place, McSorley’s hopes to bring more than just their food to you.
“We put the time and effort into making real food that people can enjoy at home without the trip to the grocery store, the time cooking, and the dirty dishes after,” Barker says. “We can’t open the pub, but we can bring the pub to you.”
Barkers says he especially looks forward to the day when parents who have been overseeing online education with their kids can come into McSorley’s.
He knows virtual learning turned out to be a bigger job than most parents expected, he said.
“I hope they can come in for a drink soon because I know they need and deserve a date night.”