By Elaine Anselmi
TORONTO—Walk a few blocks east of the Beverley Hotel and you’re in Toronto’s booming financial district. Head the same distance west and you’re engulfed in the young and artsy Queen West neighbourhood. Executive chef Eric Wood (shown at right) told CLN the unique positioning of the restaurant and boutique hotel is a key part of the concept.
“Geographically, we’re right in between, but philosophically we’re right in between, too,” said Wood.
Building the Beverley wasn’t a matter of finding the right space for the concept, rather finding the right concept to fit the space at 335 Queen St. West. “We’ve really harnessed the fact that we’re in the city’s cultural hub,” said Wood, who signed on to the project with owners Michael Homewood and Mike Strong in March.
Under one roof and one name, the multifaceted property houses: a 70-seat, main-floor restaurant; a rooftop patio with a capacity of 70; a second rooftop patio overlooking Queen Street seating another 20 to 25 people; and an 18-room boutique hotel. Wood noted that all aspects of the building are a part of the one concept, and staff will operate through the whole space, whether seating a guest in the restaurant or showing them to their room.
Catering to out-of-towners, the hotel was designed to show off the Queen West area. “Boutique hotels are amazing because you’re staying in that neighbourhood and getting the cultural vibe of it.”
Starting on the second floor – where a grey felt wall reads STAY in black lettering – The Beverley has three rooming options: a 130-square-foot studio for $140 per night, a standard room at $160 per night for 160 square feet and a 320-square-foot suite for $200. Despite its storefront location in a commercial row on the south side of Queen West, at the foot of Beverley St., every room in the hotel has natural light.
Rooms are minimalist, subscribing to an “everything you need and nothing you don’t” philosophy. Each room is different and decorated with a unique Queen West, black and white photo-mural. One room, Wood pointed out has a photograph of his bicycle that was parked outside on the day the photos were shot.
The menu on the main floor, clearly labelled: EAT, will rotate seasonally and bring in various international flavours. “We have a global palate, interpreted locally,” said Wood. “We’re at a point now that New York Fries has a butter chicken poutine … we know fusion is irrelevant, it’s just our palate.”
One feature on the menu that Wood said has carried through the various kitchens he has worked in, most recently as opening chef and operator at Hawthorne Food and Drink, is a compartmentalized meal. At Beverley, this bento box-style dish is the 4Play—four portions that change daily. “It’s what’s really, really, in season,” said Wood, noting it’s an opportunity for fun and creativity. “That’s why we call it the 4Play,” he said.
On the rooftop, a satellite kitchen consisting of a grill and fridge prepares the menu that Wood said is a lot more casual and share-focused. “We interpreted it as grill and chill,” he said.
Plans are also in the process for a 20-person bar in the basement that will open once the upstairs patio closes for the season. Wood said the basement bar is prohibition era speak-easy style, with a focus on cocktails. With four mixologists on staff, the beverage menu at the restaurant – also not so subtly labeled: DRINK – is a feature in all areas of the Beverley.
With an average check price of $50, Wood said the goal is to be a neighbourhood hub, something an establishment such as The Drake has done. Marrying the hotel and restaurant concepts, the Beverley has something on offer for both the local community and travellers looking for a taste of Toronto.
“Hotels are very complicated animals but we’re a small hotel,” said Wood. “Our mantra is really simple: Eat. Drink. Stay.”
Beverly Hotel, 335 Queen St. West, Toronto. (416) 493-2786, thebeverleyhotel.ca, @beverleyhotelTO.