What’s on the menu at Loop Line Wine and Food, a sleek new bar and bottle shop from the owners of Stratus Vineyards

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What’s on the menu at Loop Line Wine and Food, a sleek new bar and bottle shop from the owners of Stratus Vineyards

Name: Loop Line Food and Wine
Contact: 643 Dupont St., 416-516-8059, looplinewine.com, @looplinewine
Neighbourhood: Seaton Village
Owners: Stratus Vineyards and CRU Wine Merchants
Seating: 27 inside, with 6 more on the CaféTO space
Covid-19 safety measures: Frequent sanitization, hand sanitizer at entrance, physically distanced tables, state-of-the-art air filtration system installed.
Accessibility: Small step up at the entrance; flight of stairs down to basement washrooms.

The drinks

This bottle shop and wine bar is an extension of Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Stratus Vineyards and Toronto-based CRU Wine Merchants. The wines on offer are “wines with personality that are made by producers with a story,” according to winemaker and partner Charles Baker, who himself produces some of Ontario’s best-regarded rieslings. Guests can expect to find a list of sustainable, estate-grown, mostly organic and/or biodynamic wines from big-name and smaller-name wineries , as well as sake, cider and local beer.

In the retail section, bottles are tagged with fun tasting notes to assist thirsty shoppers, but in-house wine experts, like Adrienne Bertrand (Midfield Wine Bar), are around to answer any questions. Customers can purchase their wines to-go (with a small food item, of course) or—if they can’t wait to get home—open their purchase in the dining space for a $30 corkage fee. There’s also a by-the-glass program that features a rotating selection of wines, including limited-availability bottles, and cocktails.

Wines are grouped into bubbles, whites, rose, reds, drawing from a diverse list that mixes Canadian with international bottles. Here we have a couple shelves of whites.

 

The sparkling shelf stocks grower champagne, as well as products like the Raventós i Blanc a winery that has been producing from their family estate for 21 (yes, 21) generations.

 

And of course there are bottles from Baker and Stratus.

 

The current selection includes the St. John Beausoleil rosé—from London’s renowned St. John Restaurant. Fun fact: it was first created for the Ontario audience

 

Just chillin’

 

Winemaker and Stratus vineyards director Charles Baker is a partner in CRU and Loop Line.
The food

With no more than a countertop oven, the bar’s food offerings range from simple marinated bites to specialty products made by local purveyors and industry friends including Blackbird Baking and Cheese Boutique. During the day, there are pastries, baguettes and a refrigerated case filled with take-away goods. At night, the simple dine-in menu is made up of small-plates featuring house-marinated vegetables, smoked or cured meats, cheeses and pâtés, including a chicken liver mousse by chef Ryan Crawford (Ruffino’s Pasta Bar and Grill, Niagara-on-the-Lake). For something sweet, there are chocolates from neighbouring Stubbe.

The small plates section of the menu includes (clockwise from top left) marinated mushrooms with chili and parsley ($8), Niçoise olives seasoned with fennel seed and orange ($8) and potatoes tossed in mustard vinaigrette with crème fraiche and chives ($7).

 

From the cured/smoked section of the menu, here we have (clockwise from top left) house-made pâté de Campagne served with mustard and gherkin ($9), saucisson sec ($8) and smoked King Cole duck ($8).

 

Here we have a wodge of Fromager d’Affinois, a creamy cow’s milk ($8) and a selection of fancy chocolates from neighbouring Stubbe ($10)
The space

Name after the laneway that runs next to the bar (it commemorates the Christie Loop streetcar route that ran until 1963 when the University line opened up), the long room is divided into an airy storefront and a cozy, casual dining area with a central bar. A rear sliding door hides a private dining room slated to host future wine tastings and winemaker events.

The shop’s meat and cheese case (that’s in right in the middle there) doubles as a covered standing bar at night.

 

The eye-catching Dekton bar was custom-made by Latitude Countertops.

 

The walls are decorated with pieces from the collections of artists Alex McLeod and Graham Girard.

 

The business supports local artisans—even in the dishes are from nearby Dex(terity) Labs.