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At Avling, Good Design is Always On Tap

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How a former bean sprout manufacturing plant turned into the east end’s hippest brewery and restaurant

The building started as a 604-square-metre, single-storey edifice that former Joe Beef prep cook Max Meighen took over in 2017; it took two and a half years to transform the former bean sprout manufacturing plant into a two-storey brewery with a ground-floor restaurant and a 4,000 sq. foot farm on the large rooftop. Taking its name from the Norwegian word for “crop,” Avling was inspired by the ability of Nordic chefs to create good, new food from good, old ingredients.

Avling brewery Avling Restaurant Queen East Toronto Designlines Magazine

Chef Suzanne Barr (formerly of Saturday Dinette) concocted its novel spins on local cuisine (the kitchen is now being overseen by Barr’s protégé Mohammed Khodadadi). Highlights of the menu, which is dotted with herbs and vegetables grown on the roof, include an excellent turnip cake in buttermilk ranch dressing.

brewery boiler room

The boiler room at Avling brewery

Wei-Han Vivian Lee and James Macgillivray of LAMAS designed the space as a series of “fields in a farm,” with a central ovoid zinc-top bar surrounded by tables with high and low seating. A painted mural with stretches of felt by Madison van Rijn accentuates the bright and open ash-wood space that’s anchored by structural steel beams painted pink. “Sometimes brew pubs have a dark wood, brass aesthetic,” Lee says, “and we wanted to do something that felt light, to be used both day and night.”

tray with some food and a fresh glass of beer

The tanks are visible through a glass wall, and Avling beer is available in cans at an attached mini-storefront. The beer list (by Brandon Judd of Godspeed and Indie Ale House) comprises craft standards like saisons and IPAs, but it’s the pilsner – with its balance of grain, floral and spice – that’s the standout.

The Avling rooftop garden where kale, beets and more are grown

The Avling rooftop garden where kale, beets and more are grown

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