Propping up The Tallest Poppy

Beloved restaurant reopens in new space

Raegan Hedley

After closing up the doors to its Main Street incarnation early last year, popular all day eatery The Tallest Poppy has a new lease on life.

Having never gone to that original location, this was my first time trying what owner Talia Syrie has to offer. The hype around the reopening has been massive, based on the six-and-a-half-years of community and reputation they built at their original Main St. location - which was much smaller than the new space. 

The words retro and eclectic come to mind as my partner and I try to think of ways to describe the restaurant. The floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking a busy Sherbrook St. bathe the room in natural light, and the ‘60s diner style of the space is accented with different types of chairs at each table and a geometric print all over the ceiling.

We went for an early supper and were informed they normally don’t start serving dinner until 6pm. Our server allowed us to order off the dinner menu regardless. For entrées, we got the Fried Chicken ($14.95), the Tamale Pie ($12.25) and a side of Lillian’s Loaf ($6.75). There was also Tofu Biscuit Stew ($12.75) on the menu - intriguing. Another upgrade that comes with the new set-up is a well-balanced liquor menu, with a number of fun house cocktails for $8. 

There is no doubt this menu focuses on comfort food. The Tamale Pie is a vegetarian chili with a little bit of heat, topped with cheese, with small slices of cornbread on the side. I would like to see a few more veggies represented in the vegetarian chili, but it isn’t exactly aiming to be nutritious, so it’s understandable. 

The fried chicken comes with a side of collard greens with fried onions and smoked pork, roasted potatoes and gravy. The collard greens are perfectly cooked, you’ll definitely want an entire side order (available for $5.95). The fried boneless chicken breasts in peppery batter are made even better smothered in gravy. While the gravy itself is slightly lumpy, it tastes homemade. 

The Lillian’s Loaf (challah bread with cheese and chives with poppyseed spread and melted Swiss cheese) is crunchy and the cheese, melted between the slices with butter and poppyseeds, makes it very rich. 

The food is very quick to come out, but the service is pretty slow after that. Talia herself pops by to check on us, and the server is very welcoming, making decent recommendations. When winter comes and Winnipeggers are looking for a place to linger, read the paper, and enjoy some stick-to-your-ribs delights, The Tallest Poppy will flourish.

Published in Volume 69, Number 8 of The Uniter (October 22, 2014)

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