Since Thanksgiving weekend has just past and people all over town recently sat down to some seriously good grub, I thought now might be a good time to take a pause from profiling the artists playing this year’s Steel City Jazz Festival to focus on another important part of the festival experience: where to eat delicious food. I know people sometimes poke fun at Supercrawl for lining James St with food trucks, but would anyone really have it any other way? A full belly is a recipe for a good time (or a nap, not that the two are mutually exclusive). Charlie Parker and Charles Mingus were prodigious diners, so maybe some bit of jazz magic rests in being well fed?
Artword Artbar is conveniently located in the heart of the James N arts district, which is quickly becoming the arts and good food district. You can find Vietnamese, Thai, Mexican, Korean, Sushi, Peruvian, Indian, Portugese, Italian food and more along James St (or just off of it), so if you’re craving something specific odds are good you can find it. If you are coming from out of town, out of the neighbourhood, or just looking for something new to try, here are some great choices all located within walking distance of Artword Artbar.
Charred – 244 James St N
Serving up some of the finest rotisserie chicken in town, Charred has made a big impact in the short time it’s been open. Whenever my parents are in town I get the impression that going to Charred ranks slightly higher on their list of priorities than seeing me, and I can’t say I blame them. The chicken is good on its own, but when dipped in their signature piri piri sauce it’s next level. The portions are big and perfect for sharing, so bring a friend.
Burnt Tongue – 10 Cannon St E
Another new addition just off James, the Burnt Tongue offers the best soup around. If you’re out for a show on a cold, blustery night then you’ll want to grab a cup o’ soup from the Burnt Tongue to warm yourself from the inside out. Best of all, they offer vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, so they can accommodate a wide variety of dietary restrictions.
Jack and Lois – 301 James St N
I knew I would like Jack and Lois when I first went there for breakfast (which is served all day) and instead of toast my meal came with grilled cheese fingers. That kind of brilliance carries over to the rest of the menu, which features some of the best sandwiches and burgers around.
Ola – 230 James St N
It’s very hard for me to imagine James St N without Ola. I lived in an apartment above this bakery, and the sweet smells of pastries and other deliciousness would waft up through my back window. If you are looking for a quick bite of something tasty, you can’t do better than Ola. I know the lack of a posted menu can be intimidating to newcomers, but it’s worth giving a try. If you’re looking for a meal you can order deli meat or pork sandwiches (the latter served with hot peppers and sauteed onion), all served on a fresh Ola bun. If you’re looking for something sweet there’s a lot of goodness to choose from, but if it’s your first time at Ola try their egg tarts (nata), you won’t regret it.