When it was announced that State & Main was moving into Southgate Centre, I was excited. Not necessarily for the chain itself, but for the fact that the transit hub was in dire need of more sit-down restaurants within walking proximity of the station (I will say that the addition of The Glass Monkey in Lendrum is a recent bonus, though the hike up the busy 111 Street isn’t necessarily pleasant).
With Amanda working later in the evening at the mall on Sunday, it was most convenient for Felicia and I to meet up with her at State & Main so she didn’t have to travel far after her shift.
The restaurant, a part of the Original Joe’s group, angles itself to be the more polished older brother of the family. The fixtures are nicer, the lighting is a little more sexy, and the bar is much more reminiscent of a casual date night than a post-hockey pint. As it happened, the NFL Conference final was streaming on the screens, but most of our fellow diners only seemed to glance up at the TVs in passing.
Oddly enough, I really thought their menu would match the upper-scale aesthetics of the place. Instead, it is virtually identical to its Original Joe’s counterpart. A few dishes differ – a Greek-inspired flatbread at State & Main as opposed to an Indian-inspired flatbread at Original Joe’s, for example – but that’s it. I haven’t been to OJ’s in some time, otherwise, I’d be keen to compare pricing.
At any rate, after we were seated in the half-full lounge, water deposited at the table, we didn’t see our server for a good ten minutes. We were still waiting for Amanda to join us, but neither Felicia or I had eaten lunch that day, and were hoping to snack on an appetizer before our main meal. The server eventually made her way back to our table, and thankfully, both the bar and the kitchen made up for her long pause with haste.
The mama’s meatballs ($13) was essentially a deconstructed pizza sub, topped with a generous sprinkling of mozzarella. It definitely hit the spot, alongside the toasted garlic bread.
I prefer my roast beef on the medium rare side, so the French dip ($14.50) that arrived, with meat well-done and dry, wasn’t my favourite. That said, it would have been immensely easier to eat had it been sliced in half. Like Original Joe’s, State & Main also offers the choice of two sides with most entrees. Unfortunately, only one of them was worth selecting. The honey slaw was fine, but the sweet potato fries were a disappointment, not altogether under-fried but barely crispy.
French dip with honey slaw and sweet potato fries
At some point, a different server started working our section, so we ended the evening with better service than we started with. But I’m not sure that made up for my sub-par experience overall. I’d be willing to give State & Main a second chance, but with much lower expectations on the next round.
State & Main
850, 5015 111 Street (Southgate Centre)
Monday-Friday 11am-2am, Saturday-Sunday 10am-2am