Union 613 reminds you why you like America: it’s direct, authentic, and delivers the goods. Chef Darren Flowers makes us abandon any stereotypes of mediocrity we might associate with American cuisine. Instead, he delivers simple, bold flavours — to great effect.
The fried chicken is crispy and juicy and served with sides of traditional potato salad with a mayo base and slaw — also traditional — with a nice vinegary tang. Pork tenderloin is served atop creamy corn and black-eyed peas. A side of cornbread is a must: moist, studded with corn kernels, and seasoned generously with a creamy butter whose flavour changes regularly. The vegan grilled broccoli is punched up with kimchi and a bed of cashew cheese. Shrimp and grits are another classic combo that’s treated with respect.
For dessert, lemon meringue pie — with a shortbread crust and just the right amount of sweet meringue — makes you think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
On the drinks side, the bartender mixes fruit and herbs in carafes to delicious results. Even standard drinks are “Unionized” by in-house additions such as tonics, syrups, hot sauces, and colas.
Union 613 has a woodsy roadhouse feel, with communal tables in the back; there’s even a speakeasy in the basement, hidden behind a bookshelf. Like America, Union 613 can be a little loud, but it never pretends to be other than an informal meeting place for good drinks and simple food, elevated.