Pinkerton’s Snack Bar: Riverdale’s trendy hot-spot for good eats and good beats

by Via Dulay

At 1026 Gerrard St. E. stands one of Riverdale’s newest additions to the food and beverage scene.

Everything from the industrial style tables and chairs, to the open-brick walls, to the customized traffic light letting people know when last call is, Pinkerton’s has made its mark as the go-to bar because of its unique perspective on everything from eats to beats.

With this dim-lit and cozy bar being only a little over a year old, it has gained its popularity with the Riverdale community because of its welcoming environment, delicious fusion food items, a vast selection of locally crafted beers and its reputation for being an advocate of women’s safety and security with the #OrderaDiana campaign.

The smell of small food items like the King Mushroom Nappa Rolls, B.C. Tuna Tostadas and Steamed Bao Buns linger in the restaurant while cans of locally brewed beer from Henderson’s, Lost Craft and Kensington Brewing Company get cracked open. You can’t help but socialize with the table that’s one-foot away from yours and talk about the food, music and vibes that this place encapsulates.

Owner Marc Baglio along with Maple Leaf Tavern owner Todd Morgan have made their reputable mark in the local bar scene by making patrons feel like they have many faces to turn to when they are not feeling safe in a bar environment. By ordering a “Diana” from a server or a bartender, it provides a way for both parties to “exit uneasy situations safely and without much noise”, says Jordan, a regular customer that comes to Pinkerton’s every Wednesday after work. It is truly meant to be a place that brings people together and the staff want to make sure the guests walk in happy and leave happy.

Pinkerton’s Snack Bar has revolutionized the “hole in the wall” bar scene with roots and values that run deep with Riverdale residents, multicultural experiences that take you from Toronto to Vietnam and introduces an entirely new meaning to inclusivity and safe space for all. 

Pinkerton's Snack Bar
1026 Gerrard St E, Toronto, ON M4M 1Z5
(416) 855-1460

True delicious Montreal-style bagels right around the corner

Article and pictures by Ana Fernandes

Bagel Time is run by the brothers Irfan, Adnan and Imran Khan, who praise the meticulous art of producing this slightly sweeter and chewier bagel.

Salmon Sandwich

Salmon Sandwich

Brothers who immigrated from Pakistan cooking a Jewish recipe they learned in Montreal, at the heart of Greektown in Toronto. It can’t get more Canadian than that. And all of this cultural richness provided the neighborhood with delicious authentic Montreal-style bagels served right at Danforth Avenue.

As soon as you step in the Bagel Time store, the smell wins you over. The bagels are, as stated by the tagline, “baked fresh everyday”, actually every couple of hours. You can see them coming out from the wood-fired oven, beautifully toasted and in all different flavours: plain, sesame, poppy seed, garlic, cinnamon and raisins. The images on the walls show tasty sandwiches, from the popular smoked salmon to the simple yet flavourful cream cheese.

“These are the best bagels ever. It’s kind of dangerous that it’s so close to home,” says Riverdale resident Kerry Milligan, already a regular to the store, who has come over five times to Bagel Time in the last month.

The owner, Irfan Khan, learned from the best, working for the traditional St-Viateur and Fairmount bagel shops in Montreal. He says it is important to use the best ingredients and to follow the recipe meticulously. The trick, however, is the oven and the rolling of the bagels.

“I don’t have gas in my oven. In Toronto, 90 per cent [of bakeries] have gas [ovens]. And the second thing is we roll by hand, nobody rolls by hand in this city, just in Montreal, and we are rolling by hand. Machine rolling and hand rolling makes a big difference.”

The customers certainly seem to appreciate Irfan and his brothers Adnan and Imran’s attention to detail. 

The store opened by the end of April and, during the first month, they sold over 40,000 bagels. And the business is still growing. Bagel Time is now selling for grocery stores and soon it will have a second location. Irfan says he’s already got a place at the city’s west-end, close to Bathurst Street, which he plans to open in two months.

“My two younger brothers and I, we know this business,” says Irfan. “We make them from our own hands, with our own labour. If I keep the recipe good and provide good service, we can run good business.”
After working a while with construction, Irfan came back to the bagels for their business potential and also for the emotional connection. He says they didn’t have bagels in Pakistan, but quickly took pride in producing this unique type of bread. It might not be a dish from their past, but it is one that they have embraced for their future in a diverse country and in an inclusive neighborhood.



Bagel Time
582 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 1R1
(416) 546-0177

Hailed Coffee infuses the neighbourhood....mmm chocolate

Hailed Coffee has quickly established itself as a great addition to the stretch along the lonely but up-and-coming stretch of Gerrard near the beer store (and neighbour Saturday Dinette). There are many reasons to visit this wholly unique take on coffee culture but perhaps the best reason for people not coffee-inclined might be their chocolate.

Specifically, their cardamon-infused chocolate, which could possibly be the closest you'll get to divinity outside of your place-of-worship. Brilliantly, owner Salim Bamakhrama has created tiny bite size samples in the shape of coffee beans that melt into your mouth after a hit of java (or not). A tiny satchel of these little droppings of gold goes for about $5 and you might find yourself dropping in any afternoon when you need a boost. We sampled bags and bags of the stuff and passed them around to staff and people we know, and the feedback was positively hyperbolic. Along with the cardamon-flavoured stuff, there's also a white chocolate version, and a coffee flavoured version (with a slight crunch), but for us, the cardamon one is the standout.