Aubrey Graham has made a name for himself in Toronto and across the globe – not only as a hip-hop & rap artist, but a certified tastemaker. Any and all Drake endorsements – from the launch of Apple Music to his recent collaboration with Canada Goose – are almost assured success.
Drake’s inaugural restaurant, Fring’s, launched with the help of SurSur Lee back in 2015. The spot paid homage to Drake’s obvious influence on the city of Toronto, its decor nodding at several of his lyrics and sayings. Since its opening, Fring’s has found duality as both a popular spot in the city for the millennial crowd and a pilgrimage site for Drake fans to visit from all over the world.
Drake’s second venture however, Pick6ix, is not nearly as kitschy as Fring’s. Stationed at 33 Yonge Street, the restaurant is extremely accessible for Toronto natives or tourists stumbling to their Airbnbs from Union Station. The decor is luxurious, with dark Kentucky blue’s adoring the booths and tasteful gold finishing on the tables and cutlery. The rap star and his contemporaries like The Weeknd, PartyNextDoor and Daniel Caesar stream through the air at a welcoming volume. Though there are several televisions broadcasting the current Leafs or the Raptors game, Pick6ix is not serving up beers and burgers and fries. Pick6ix operates on a level of luxury unlike any other ‘sports bar’ in the city. A place for elevated dining, entertainment and no doubt – company.
The public got its first glimpse at Pick6ix when Drake threw a birthday party for Cleveland Cavaliers star, Dwayne Wade. Many of Drake’s inner circle made appearances from his security guard/courtside-company Nessel “Chubbs” Beezer and manager Adel ‘Future the Prince’ Nur, to athletes like Lebron James and P.K. Subban.
The real star however is behind the kitchen counter, Chef Antonio Park. Chef Park is close friends with Chubbs and has been with the restaurant since it was a mere rumour. Chef Park has an incredible background with immense knowledge of Argentinian, Korean, Japanese and Canadian cuisine. Though the menu is very reflexive of Chef Park’s roots and skill set, Drake’s personal taste was a large part of the menu as well, with dishes inspired by cities, meals and flavours he likes the best.
I was lucky enough to attend an incredible tasting of the menu at Pick6ix and it did not disappoint. It’s a restaurant that is instantly impressive based off decor alone. The space itself is designed to be inviting and intimate at the same time, with carefully placed cozy booths and an invitational circular bar. The cocktails are certainly worth mentioning, as expert mixologists craft pure genius with Grey Goose, for some delicious and dangerous creations.
The food, however, deserves accolades far greater than the rest. The versatility and detail Chef Park includes in his food is truly remarkable. He happily came out, shook hands with everyone at our table, and introduced each dish as we ate. Nigiri and sashimi that melted against your tongue, intricately styled inside-out-dumplings and shaved papaya salads, rich 8-hour braised cuts of teriyaki beef. Pick6ix is officially open so I suggest you head over today, tomorrow or yesterday – hell, I’m heading back as soon as I can.