Journalist Sarah Efron explores strip malls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in search of the city's best ethnic food

Monday, October 6, 2014

Legendary North York jerk chicken restaurant gets a new home

Allwyn's Bakery has long been a legend amongst residents of North York. The location at Parkwoods Village Centre was obscure to say the least, but Allwyn's had no trouble drawing a crowd of rabidly loyal fans thanks to its killer jerk chicken and dirt cheap prices. Now the restaurant has a moved into a more visible storefront at Donwood Plaza at 81 Underhill Drive.

Allwyn's regulars have flocked to the new location, which opened three months ago after the old space was given up to expand Shopper's Drug Mart as part of the Parkwoods Village redevelopment. "There are lots of old folks and new faces," says stoic staffer and Jamaican immigrant Donald Simpson, who has worked for Allwyn's for almost 20 years. "It's much busier and there are lots of lineups," he sighs. 

The new location is still modest, but bigger and brighter than the previous space. There is one table and some stools so patrons can eat inside instead of scarfing down the food in their cars. Heck there's even a phone number now. But the basics haven't changed. 

"It's still the same food. It's great if you like spice," says Rich McDonald, a North York resident who's been going to Allwyn's for more than five years. 

The jerk chicken sandwich—moist and flavourful meat and crunchy coleslaw nestled between two airy pieces of coco bread—sells for just $4.25. The patties ($1.50) are pockets of spicy meat encased in dough that has the perfect balance of flake and chew. Plus there's a new addition to the menu—the spicy curries can now be enjoyed inside roti. 

Allwyn's Bakery is located at 81 Underhill Drive, North York, Toronto. Telephone 647 859 6388. Hours are currently 11am to 10pm every day although they may be changing soon.   

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