Daily bite: The Donnelly Group opens new concept, Walrus Pub and Beerhall in Toronto

Donnelly Group has been setting its sights on Toronto

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With successful places like the lively Belfast Love on King Street and the barbershop-by-day, cocktail-bar-by-night Gift Shop on Ossington Avenue in Toronto under their belt, it seems that the Vancouver-based Donnelly Group has been putting a good foot forward out east over the past year and a half. This past weekend, the restaurant group—which mostly owns a mix of pubs and bars in Vancouver like The Lamplighter, but also co-owns Royal Dinette—opened up their latest Toronto venture Walrus Pub and Beer Hall on the corner of Bay Street and Wellington in the Financial District.

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Walrus' large, divided room boasts an eclectic, but polished look, courtesy of Ste Marie Design and their in-house artist/designer, Ricky Alvarez. Ste Marie is arguably one of Western Canada's most sought after design firms and has done the interiors of many award-winning restaurants such as Kissa Tanto and Savio Volpe. This particular space offers up tall walls filled with a myriad of framed artwork, both large and small, properly levelled and purposely crooked, plenty of brass lighting fixtures and sparsely decorated book shelves standing in front of floor-to-ceiling round framed windows that look out onto Wellington street. On the pub side of things, you'll find a long bar with shiny gold paneling and a line-up of flatscreens above their tap lines. Even the shuffleboard here looks reasonably swank sitting underneath modern light fixtures in front of a fern decalled glass pane.


We feast. #iliketoeat #getinmybelly #smashingoysters #thewalrus #birthdayeats

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Donnelly's head development chef, Chris Stewart (formerly of Mission Hill Winery and Hawksworth Restaurant) keeps things relatively approachable with a range of dishes, from shoestring fries with housemade Russian dressing to a house-ground burger on a potato bun and a line-up of sesame seed-crusted pizzas like the Bianca topped with smoked mozzarella, fried leeks and crispy fingerling potatoes. Drinks on offer include plenty of craft beer on tap, cocktails and also a list of zero proof drinks for anyone keeping themselves booze-free.

Walrus is open from 11 a.m. until late Monday to Friday and 4 p.m. onward on the weekends.