The Hogtown Vegan

Restaurant, Vegan, Gluten Free, Comfort Foods
June 13
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  • Food
  • Ambience
  • Service

Overall

1056 Bloor St. West
Toronto, Ontario

The Hogtown Vegan is a restaurant that I’ve heard A LOT about before visiting it. Some of my friends love it; some hate it. My experience falls somewhere in the middle. I went in with low expectations as I had been warned that the food would be “too greasy”, but I was pleasantly surprised with the food. I actually didn’t think my food was greasy at all! 

My Hogtown experience did not start off well. We walked into the restaurant and saw the sign that asked us to wait to be seated, except nobody was around to seat us. After a few minutes, a server came over and showed us to our table. We did move tables afterward to a seat with better sunlight (hello… food photos!), so maybe that was where we got off on the wrong foot with our server. It’s possible that annoyed them, because there was one staff member in particular I found to be extremely rude. After what seemed like a lifetime of nobody stopping by our table to take our orders, I went up to the servers who were just
chatting away between themselves and kindly let them know we were ready to order. At this point, I just received a snarky “ok” and dirty look. 
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* I think now is a good time to intervene and tell you that I have worked in the service industry for many years. I understand what it’s like to have a long day. I also understand what it’s like to be extremely busy, so I always cut servers some slack. What I don’t understand, are rude servers. I don’t think there is ever an excuse to treat customers that way, especially if the restaurant is not busy. 

OK, on to the most important part: the food. I ordered the Gluten Free Southern Combo, which came with mac n’ cheese, garlic sautéed chard and “unpulled BBQ pork”. My friend ordered the “Unchicken and waffles”. Both platters were good – not excellent – just good. Credit where credit is due: the unpulled pork tasted as close to meat as I’ve had since I went vegan! It was a very well done imitation. To be honest, I don’t ever miss meat though, so this wasn’t satisfying some long lasting craving. I do give the unpulled pork a 9.5/10. My mac n’ cheese wasn’t anything special. I love a gooey, cheesy mac – and this tasted less cheesy, mixed with hot sauce. The noodles were overcooked, as well. To round off my platter, the garlic sautéed greens were lacking in taste and ‘umph’, if you will. 
My friend’s meal was much better. Her unchicken tasted like what I remember of chicken and her waffles were perfectly crunchy, dripping in good ‘ol maple syrup. Now that’s something I can wrap my head around! 

I was finally starting to enjoy my Hogtown experience when I asked our server if any of the deserts were gluten free – specifically the Fried Apple Pie (sounds so yum!). To my surprise (although I really shouldn’t have been surprised at this point), she snapped back that it had gluten. I asked what type of flour it was made with, as I occasionally indulge in a little spelt flour action, to which she snapped back annoyed “regular wheat”. I would think that asking about gluten free and wheat options is a pretty normal and common question in a vegan joint. I gave up at this point and returned back to my seat feeling a little deflated…

The Hogtown Vegan felt more like a bar to me, than a sit down restaurant. I do like how they had a drink menu filled with vegan drinks, as you never know when you just need a glass! It’s always good to be prepared with a place in mind. 

All this said, I’d like to give The Hogtown Vegan a 2nd chance. I’ll chalk up our service to a bad day and hope that my next experience there will be better.
Prices were average for vegan food. Both our platters were $14CAD and portion sizes were perfect. 

Positives
good portion sizes, entire gluten free menu, lots of seats, vegan drink menu
Negatives
rude staff, no free parking, greasy food

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