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BEAR Steak Sandwiches is back. "Happy to be slaying sammies again," after going on a brief hiatus at the end of August, they're trading in grilling outdoors on Palmerston Avenue for a pop-up spot at Chef's Hall instead.
Run by friends Ricardo Barrientos and Aki Erenberg, the duo's sandwich concept sky-rocketed in popularity over the summer, serving up one signature menu item -- The Sammy. A flank steak sandwich on a Portuguese-style bun with Barrientos' signature chimichurri, they emphasize supporting other local businesses in the neighbourhood by sourcing their beef from Nosso Talho and their bread and dessert from Golden Wheat Bakery. So why leave Little Italy?
"Basically, we outgrew the backyard," says Barrientos. "Also, my mom kicked us out."
Aligning with their search for a bigger space to accommodate more orders, they were approached by Chef's Hall with an opportunity to grow, which they couldn't turn down. Now that they've secured their spot, they've also expanded their menu.
"I think when we were in the backyard, there was a simplicity to having the one sandwich. Now we're in the new space; we're trying to innovate," says Erenberg. "We want to bring something a little bit better, a little bit more creative, but stick with the same simple sandwiches that we have that keep it so genuine."
Their iconic sandwich is looking a little different now. The inclusion of roasted red peppers to their flank steak and chimichurri ingredient list adds another layer of texture and flavour to this sandwich.
"We were very comfortable with the sandwich as it was, but like we always do, we listen to the people," says Erenberg. "There were a couple suggestions to adding roasted red peppers and we thought, why not?"
In addition to The Sammy, find sides that include the return of the pastel de nata from Golden Wheat Bakery and fries that can be topped with a generous drizzle of chimichurri.
"When we say that we've had no better fry in the city than that one," says Erenberg, "We mean that 100%, they're fantastic."
Still experimenting with more options to share; right now, the new feature is a mortadella sandwich. Bite into provolone, cheddar, caramelized onions, roasted red pepper jelly and of course mortadella, between a Portuguese roll pressed on a flat top. This new addition pairs perfectly with Stock and Row cold tea ciders, now available at their Chef's Hall pop-up.
Find BEAR Steak Sandwiches at Chef's Hall every Friday and Saturday until the end of December. They're open from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. for dinner.
"We miss you guys, we miss doing this and we're very excited to be back."