MICHAEL WEBSTER: In one month
we’ve gone through what I think, like, most restaurants
might go through in a year. Within like three week–
we haven’t even been open a month yet. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: We just
started accepting credit cards, now that all our
technology is working. But today we didn’t accept
credit cards. So cash money is king. I love it. Everything went down. Fuck. Cash money. It meant that I had money
to pay for the staff. GUY RAWLINGS: The first
day was fucked up. That was a good, like,
18 hour day. And it’s like an hour before
we’re opening, and I’m in the fuckin’ washroom, like, wiping
off dust and fuckin’ smeared, like, grout and shit. Renovations? You thought that was hard? Fuck you. That’s open. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: My name’s
Grant Van Gameren. I am the owner of Bar Isabel. A lot of people think this
is a Spanish restaurant. It’s not a Spanish restaurant
by any means. It’s definitely inspired by the
convivial way of eating and drinking in Spain. The way I describe it is, you
know, this sassy, sexy, older, slightly chubby Spanish woman,
with a little gypsy in her. Uh, he’s making a sea
bream ceviche here. As a chef I just had to
say, you know what? You don’t have to be doing
something incredibly innovative and different, and
you don’t have to prove yourself on each individual
plate. For me, it was about
the progression of the entire meal. Is this our blood sausage? Little bit of confit shallots. Rather than try to impress each
person with each plate, impress them with an array
of dishes, right? Sort of really kind of have that
restraint in food, and just do a whole grilled
octopus, you know? It’s not fuckin’ seaweed, it’s
not fuckin’ glued together. You’re not trying to serve
a square piece of it. It was really keeping things
natural, just very simple, well-executed food. Let’s have some roasted crab
legs, with lots of ginger, garlic, smoked paprika. Got claws, crabs. Gets real messy at the
table, though. We use the water from all the
crab when it defrosts. It gets frozen on the
boat, so we use that to do all out liquid. The goal is to baste
in all the cracks. Gets messy even plating it. I actually never even wanted
to be a chef, to be honest with you. I don’t have any kind of
culinary history where my grandmother used to
cook food for me. My first job was really kind
of at Pizza Pizza, slinging out pizzas for a couple
years there. Becoming a chef really became a
necessity, because I was in my early twenties, all my
friends were graduating with degrees from university,
and here I was. And I had nothing. And all I had been doing was
cooking in shitty restaurants. So I made a choice at that
time to really take it seriously and put my all into
it, and then that’s when I first started my decent jobs at
Canoe, and this and that. I’ve always been a pretty
independent person. I’d always want to do things
differently than the chef would be doing it, so I just
really had to open up my own restaurant. It’s delicious. So juicy. A lot of the food I
cook now is just stuff I’ve taught myself. I never went to culinary
school. I don’t play that whole
executive chef kind of status. I like to cook. I like to be involved
in my kitchen. I like to have fun. My main priority is to make
sure that things are consistent and tasty. And people seem to receive
it pretty well. Bar Isabel was just about
bringing good people on board. This is Guy Rawlings,
the ginger kick. Are you hungover? You got the Gatorade? GUY RAWLINGS: Very nice. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: You know,
it’s really nice to have a chef run the front
of the house. Right? It gives it a complete,
different dynamic. The way he talks to staff, the
way he deals with situations. He has that kitchen brigade
mentality, right? GUY RAWLINGS: Let’s
do some cocktails. MICHAEL WEBSTER: Yeah. Do you know what those
guys want down there? GRANT VAN GAMEREN:
Michael Webster. I went to his apartment once and
it was, like, literally, there were probably $20,000,
$30,000 worth of alcohol. He opened his fridge, there
was absolutely no food. But there were like 50
types of bitters, and just simple syrups. At that moment I knew, OK,
I gotta hire this guy. GUY RAWLINGS: Watch
out behind you. MICHAEL WEBSTER: Champions. GRANT VAN GAMEREN:
Chef’s hungry. Chef’s thirsty. It’s good times with Guy
and Mike, always. Since we’ve opened we haven’t
had a night where we’ve actually been able to go out. I can generally be a control
freak when it comes to food, the setup, the chairs, the
cleanliness, whatever’s going on in the room. So it was nice to finally make
that step and be like, yeah, it can function without you. We’re on empty stomachs right
now, so it’s gonna get real, real messy tonight. We’ve been going hard
seven days, until 2:00 in the morning. And then we get out at
5:00 in the morning. MICHAEL WEBSTER: I get out
at 5:00 in the morning. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: Third
week’s better. We’re getting out at 3:30. MICHAEL WEBSTER: He gets out
in time for McDonald’s. GRANT VAN GAMEREN:
That’s right. MICHAEL WEBSTER: I get out in
time for an empty apartment and a box of tissues alone. GRANT VAN GAMEREN:
That’s right. So last night we started
our evening off at Bellwoods Brewery. Their beer is fucking amazing. We met with Luke, one
of the owners. LUKE PESTL: My name’s
Luke Pestl. I’m one of the owners here, and
one of the brewmasters, along with Mike Clark. And this is our little
kingdom of brewing. GUY RAWLINGS: It’s funny to
sit here with Luke where, like, what? Like a year and a half ago, two
years ago, it’s him just having a burger,
and he’s like– I wanna open a brewery. I’m thinking, like,
near Bellwoods. Then to see all the stages– we got a space. It’s a fuckin’ art gallery,
it has nothing. I’m like, y’all are
fuckin’ crazy. And then within a month
you open and, what? You got the gold medal
for the, Hellwoods? LUKE PESTL: Baltic Porter. GUY RAWLINGS: Baltic Porter. And then within 10 months,
fuckin’ top– what was that? Third best brewery
in the world? LUKE PESTL: Best third
brewery in the world. Yeah. MICHAEL WEBSTER: From a burger
a year and a half ago and an idea, to third-best new
brewery in the world. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: It’s too
bad you didn’t become a partner in this. GUY RAWLINGS: He tried. He tried! He tried so hard. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: You’re
fuckin’ stupid. GUY RAWLINGS: You don’t– I can’t make any decisions. The only decision I can make
is I’m gonna wear the same clothes as I did yesterday. MICHAEL WEBSTER: Well, cheers
to your successes. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: Happy
one year anniversary. LUKE PESTL: Thank you. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: It’s pretty
amazing to see what they’ve done in just one year. It’s exciting to kind of
think where they’re gonna be in five years. GUY RAWLINGS: After you, chef. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: I’m
drunk already. GUY RAWLINGS: Oh boy. I can’t even fit in
this motherfucker. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: I used
to be a rapper. GUY RAWLINGS: Mr. Tooks. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: I also used
to be a reptile breeder. MICHAEL WEBSTER: A
hip-hop artist. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: Before
being a cook. I like animals that
are misunderstood. Well, I used to breed– GUY RAWLINGS: What
was the breed? GRANT VAN GAMEREN:
Blood pythons. I’d go to clean their water
bowl and I’d smell mice, because I used to breed
rats in the closet. And that’s another reason
why I didn’t get– have a girlfriend
for too long. One day I reached in, smelling
like mice, and this fuckin’ snake almost bit my face off. Oh boy, oh boy. Time to get some food. And we went to 416 Snack Bar. Fuckin’ crazy place. Busier than ever. I have lots of love for what
Adrian, Dave, and those guys do over there. Like us, they are open
seven days a week. They do food ’til 2:00
in the morning. ADRIAN RAVINSKY: My name
is Adrian Ravinsky. I’m the proprietor and barman
at 416 Snack Bar. Late-night food in Toronto,
until recently, was lacking pretty considerably. My business partner and
myself, we worked in restaurants all over town for
the better part of a decade. And more or less we decided at
one point, like, there’s just fuckin’ nothing good to eat past
11 o’clock in this city. So we opened this place
specifically for people in– GRANT VAN GAMEREN:
The industry, who are fuckin’ hungry. Late-night. Want good music, want
fuckin’ tasty, salty food, and good booze. That’s why we’re here. ADRIAN RAVINSKY: That’s
why we’re here. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: The
food was fuckin’ phenomenal last night. Those guys in the kitchen,
they’re working in small quarters, they’re working
on the bar tops. They got little lamps for their
stations so they can see what’s going on. It takes special people
who can pull that off day in and day out. I think we had some crispy
deep-fried Chinatown chicken, or something? I think it was all cornstarch. It was so fuckin’ crispy. And these crazy spicy
sushi rolls. MICHAEL WEBSTER: Good music,
tasty food, horny people. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: Are
you horny right now? MICHAEL WEBSTER: I’m
always horny. GUY RAWLINGS: I feel concerned
for our customers. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: That
was two much. We’re doing some shots
of bourbon and fernet, or something. And I think that’s where
kind of– you know. I started to get a
little bit drunk. I don’t drink that often, so. Really started to
feel it there. It’s hard to walk into something
that a lot of people think are special,
or a great place. When you own it, you don’t have
that same feeling, right? So I think, like, walking into
416 last night– this is what something really special
feels like. GUY RAWLINGS: Next stop. Right now we’re going
to Bar Volo. They’ve helped us connect with
some amazing breweries. And they really allowed
us to open our eyes to what beer can be. THOMAS MORANA: We’re Bar Volo. We’ve been here for 25 years? This is my father, Ralph. He started this spot. And this is my brother Julian,
another manager and a full part of Volo. And we run this spot. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: I don’t think
a lot of people in this city even know about Bar Volo. And yet they’re bringing
the most interesting beers to Ontario. That’s a Mikkeller. Thomas is a fucking
huge beer geek. He’ll talk your ear
off about beer. He has so much information,
and he just needs to get it out. THOMAS MORANA: The Mikkeller
Stella 2. Only 200 bottles released
in the world. It’s extremely sour. All sorts of [INAUDIBLE],
lacto, [INAUDIBLE]. A lot of bugs going
on in here. It’s fuckin’ good, man. You wouldn’t even know
if this was a beer. Like, you drink it
like a wine. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: We were
popping bottles. The Mikkeller Magnums. All these sour beers. I think it got a little bit
hazy there, chugging back those sours. Who knows how many– you know, what percentage
of alcohol they were. THOMAS MORANA: Hey, don’t tell
anybody we’re taking shots of Happy Van Winkle. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: That’s kind
of when I started to, uh, forget about portions
of the night. It’s always a great crowd. They’re super into, like, some
crazy hip-hop trap music. And they’re true gangsters
at heart. -After you. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: Woo! Champions. GUY RAWLINGS: Thomas. Get in here, bro. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: I
need my bottles. My bottles. GUY RAWLINGS: Yes, Thomas. Oh. It feels so good. It hurts so right. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: I’ve always
wondered what filming of gang bus is like. GUY RAWLINGS: Give
me the other one. THOMAS MORANA: Oh, this is
gonna go everywhere. -No, no. GUY RAWLINGS: No,
no, it’s good! No, it’s good. THOMAS MORANA: No, it’s
wild fermentation– GUY RAWLINGS: No, I’m
wild fermentation. That’s how you do it! GRANT VAN GAMEREN: Police,
police, police. Don’t open the door. Don’t open the door. Oh, no. You just opened the door. -And now you close the door. -So much heat right now. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: Champions
should not be drinking in cabs. So then we headed back
to Bar Isabel. Every night around the end of
service we basically do this hand-written menu here,
from 11:30 on. So the kitchen crew
are basically ready to rock and roll. All right guys, let’s go. One chef’s sober, one
chef’s drunk. We got a lot of colorful
plates. Making me dizzy. I might just vomit on
the fried chicken. We do some big gangster
platters. This is we do at Isabel
late-night. Brando’s fried chicken. Sausages. Bone marrows. Octopus. A little bit of foie
gras over here. Some ceviches. Whatever the fuck we
got in the kitchen. These platters, they don’t
make us any money. We try to make money
off the cocktails. That’s it. True champions. True champions at Isabel. A lot of restaurants, near the
end of the night they start making you feel uncomfortable,
like you have to finish your meal. And what’s beautiful about here
is that people will be having dinner, and it’ll
be like 11 o’clock. And all of a sudden the lights
will get dimmer, the music gets louder. You want to sit at the bar, you
want to sit at the table, you just want a drink of
booze, no problem. This guy. This guy is the best. MARKS SCREWS: Second
best, second best. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: The
best designer. He designed everything. Where can you get crab legs and
foie gras at, you know, 2:00 in the morning, and
get good service? So that’s really what we’re
trying to do here. And I think that’s it. Good service tonight. Good service. Good service. -Chef, you’re working
at 12:00 tomorrow. GRANT VAN GAMEREN: Chef’s
showing up a little bit late tomorrow. -No. Don’t think so. I make the schedule
around here. And you’re showing up at 12:00.