This decisively unpretentious local spot captured our attention on multiple occasions when we jogged through the neighbourhood.
Completo is only open until 9 pm daily, and there is always a congregation of loyal customers hanging around in the evenings all the way to the end. What attracted us more than anything was the BBQ and patio tables at the front. They greatly added to the neighbourhood’s quiet, street vibe.
The bold red wordmark on a black background, probably set in Ariel, was not memorable except for its uneven kerning. This identity most likely was not the reason why people came, but it did grab attention with its dramatic look.
The menus laid on the tables - simple, thin, black, and white leaflets. We took a seat and waited to see what happens, as some orders were brought out to the tables near us. Everything was setup to be very casual here and we slowly realized orders are done inside. The space is tiny, however, clean and fresh - a tall, acid green countertop with an open kitchen and cash register behind took most of the space. This green had nothing to do with the red and black combination so far. The colour repeated on the adjacent wall with a typographic Leslieville poster, so no accident, it seems.
The grey brick walls as a backdrop added a stylish element behind the decor. With a couple of tall tables to the sides and few bar stools fit into the cramped space, the light hip-hop music welcomed us. Their simple chalkboard menus up above reminded us of all the options, mind you, they are a bit of a neck crunch. We made our choices and paid at the cash, after taking a brief trip to the closest BMO ATM. Oops! We made it back salivating to order our Completo hot dog, Loaded Grilled Cheese and Churrassco sandwich.
We realized that tomato, cilantro, house hot sauce, and mashed avocado were the key ingredients for most of the items. The signature Completo was a Rowe Farms hot dog served on a toasted bun with (you guessed it) mayo, tomato-cilantro salsa, mashed avocado, house hot sauce, ketchup, and mustard. It was relatively hard to eat with the large, tender bun letting the sausage fall out from the first bite. There were tons of veggies and toppings, making it rather feel like a healthy option.
Our second was the Loaded Grilled Cheese loaded with aged cheddar, hot roasted pepper sauce, diced tomatoes, mashed avocado, and refried beans. The sandwich turned out to be compact and dense initially, but upon a bite, the toppings escaped from the sides. This was still considerably easier to eat than Completo. We got the mild option, in terms of hot sauce intensity.
After our ATM walk, we’d come back for the Churrassco sandwich. Now that was an item to try. As recommended by the chef, we chose the pork option. It came neatly on a toasted kaiser bun with the usual suspects (diced tomatoes, mashed avocado, house hot sauce, red pepper sauce, and some mayo). The thinly-sliced meat melted in our mouths. We definitely will be back to compare the pork option with the steak one, and, perhaps, even brave up and try their fries with our meal, like everyone around did.
We sat at a square cyan table outside. It was not too clean, but we were happy to find a seat. Only mere meters away from the busy Queen Street, yet it felt like we were transplanted deep into a residential area with a local food joint. It reminded us of the time in Austin with its myriad street-food options, low-rise layout, and lush surroundings.