All stories by Susan Keefe

The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Rose and Sons, the new Annex diner from Anthony Rose

Introducing: Rose and Sons

(Image: Susan Keefe)

The hotly anticipated Rose and Sons opened earlier this month where the beloved neighbourhood institution People’s Foods once stood. Co-owned by Robert Wilder and The Drake Hotel’s former executive chef Anthony Rose, the 176 Dupont Street location is the first instalment in a promised trio of restaurants. Out of respect for the diner that Wilder visited for 30-plus years, he and Rose opted to leave the iconic “Hamburgers” sign untouched. Inside, Rose and Sons echoes the retro appeal of the fallen greasy spoon, with the individual tables swapped out for long wooden booths. The eatery has an undeniably buzzy energy, with a bustling bar operating beside a semi-enclosed kitchen, which turns out the kind of elevated comfort food that Rose has become known for.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Hogtown Charcuterie, Kensington Market’s new spot for prepared meats

Introducing: Hogtown Charcuterie

(Image: Susan Keefe)

It’s no secret that pig is big right now. The aptly named Hogtown Charcuterie, in Kensington Market, offers a wide selection of hand-cured and smoked meats predominantly of the pork variety. Hogtown’s owner, Pawel Grezlikowski, began practising the art of charcuterie 10 years ago as a hobby. After a year of successfully selling his products at farmers’ markets in the Junction and Davisville, he decided to take the plunge and set up a standalone shop in the space that formerly held the short-lived Mr. Cream and Easton’s Charcuterie.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Monforte on Jefferson, the artisanal cheesemaker’s new Liberty Village shop

Introducing: Monforte on Jefferson

(Image: Susan Keefe)

Earlier this month, the Stratford-based Monforte Dairy Company opened its first stand-alone store in Toronto on a quaint strip in the increasingly gentrified Liberty Village. A mainstay on the farmers’ market scene, Monforte, owned by cheesemaker Ruth Klahsen, was lovingly bullied by its many fans into opening a shop so they wouldn’t have to contend with erratic market hours to get their fix of goat gouda. Christina Stapper, a veteran of the market circuit and manager of the new Jefferson Avenue location, is understandably pleased by the new indoor digs: “Now I don’t have to stand in the rain and try to hawk cheese,” she joked.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Triple A Bar, a new Texas-style barbecue joint and saloon on Adelaide

Introducing: Triple A Bar

(Image: Susan Keefe)

Laide, the erotically themed Adelaide and Jarvis cocktail lounge, has gotten a big revamp. The stripper pole and nude relief castings in the entryway are gone, as is the name, a pun on the address and the hoped-for outcome of a night out there. In its place: Triple A Bar, a laid back, neo-rustic joint that offers down-home Texas barbecue and a wide variety of beers, tequilas and bourbons. After the birth of her first child, co-owner Racquel Youtzy returned to work eager to try something new. Inspired by the food and music of Austin, Texas, Youtzy and her partner Tiz Pivetta decided to create a neighbourhood bar that brought some of that feel to the increasingly condo-dominated area.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Paintbox Bistro, Regent Park’s colourful new social enterprise restaurant

Introducing: Paintbox Bistro

(Image: Susan Keefe)

Chris Klugman was the opening chef at both Oro and Bistro 990, but when it came to his latest project, Paintbox Bistro, he had more than food on his mind. The restaurant is a for-profit social enterprise that focuses on reinvigorating the oft-marginalized community of Regent Park. Attached to the 26-storey Paintbox Condominiums and the Regent Park Arts and Cultural Centre (a.k.a. Daniels Spectrum), Paintbox has an explicit goal: to “improve the quality of life of people in Regent Park.” To wit, Klugman, working in conjunction with Toronto Employment and Social Services, has trained and currently employs 30 Regent Park residents in the recently opened restaurant; 12 of the recruits even received a grant for four months of culinary training at George Brown College, where Klugman teaches.

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Introducing: Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium, Kensington’s newest gourmet sandwich and soda shop

Introducing: Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium

(Image: Susan Keefe)

The nostalgia diner trend has been chugging away for a few years now, on menus and in restaurant designs. The latest edition: Dr. Augusta’s Samitorium, a new sandwich and soda shop located at the edge of Kensington Market and named after the area’s north-south artery. Owned and operated by Chris Bobbitt and Vlad Vujovic, it’s a decidedly stripped-down take on a ’50s eatery, with tall black leather stools, a throwback black-and-white tile floor and large picture windows. The main bar is home to rows of pickle-packed Mason jars and the place’s big draw: an old-school soda fountain.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Sauce on the Danforth, a new east end bar with classic cocktails and 17 craft beers on tap

Introducing: Sauce on the Danforth

(Image: Susan Keefe)

The roaring ’20s (or at least some version of them) have been roaring back for the last few years, with TV shows like HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and movies like the upcoming Baz Luhrmann take on The Great Gatsby. A new east end bar, Sauce on the Danforth, is hoping to capitalize on that interest. Owned and operated by Michelle Belisle and Johnny Lucien, the speakeasy-inspired room is open late, and showcases a collection of 1920s cocktails, craft beers, tapas and live music.

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The Dish

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Introducing: Moo Milk Bar, the Beach’s new spot for milk and cookies

Introducing: Moo Milk Bar

(Image: Susan Keefe)

There are few ills in this world that can’t be ameliorated with a crisp, chewy cookie and a cold glass of milk. The Beach’s newest bakery, Moo Milk Bar (no relation to Momofuku Milk Bar), is hoping to capitalize on the widespread love of the classic dessert combo. Helmed by New York native Danielle Oron, the milk and cookie joint opened its doors earlier this month, and has been enjoying an enviable amount of foot traffic ever since.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: The Arrow Café, Dundas West’s newest coffee and ice cream shop

(Image: Susan Keefe)

Before it was The Arrow Café, 1164 Dundas St. W. was an accountant’s office. But when childhood friends Robin Eley, Owais Rafiq and Eli Bach, who pooled their resources to open the new coffee and ice cream shop, pulled up the carpet, they uncovered a logo on the floor. They traced it back to The Arrow, a newspaper which was printed on the cafe’s premises 60 years ago. Enamoured with this piece of local history, Eley, Rafiq and Bach decided to adopt the insignia and name as their own.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Indian Rice Factory Chai Bar, a new offshoot of the Annex institution (with a great patio)

Introducing: Indian Rice Factory Chai Bar

(Image: Susan Keefe)

The Indian Rice Factory has been a fixture in the Annex for over 43 years. Earlier this month, owners Aman Patel and his wife Deepa opened the Indian Rice Factory Chai Bar as an extension of their existing business. Located just steps from the restaurant’s long-standing Dupont Street location, the grab-and-go café is operated out of a quaint wooden barn connected to the restaurant. Offering a variety of coffees, teas, pastries and a pared-down lunch menu, the Chai Bar is intended to cater to a hurried lunch crowd.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria, the Annex location of the pizza chain from out west

Introducing: Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria

(Image: Susan Keefe)

Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria was born in the summer of 2005 after co-owner Justin Lussier visited Pizzeria Sorbillo in Naples. He contacted his friends and future business partners Jason Allard and Christian Bullock and hatched a plan to bring authentic Neapolitan pizza to Canada (granted, he wasn’t the first to have this plan). After opening a handful of locations in Western Canada, Famoso added brothers Dean and Chad Labreche to the team, and they set their sights on Ontario. The Labreche brothers are responsible for two Famoso locations in Toronto: Chad opened his location in Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s revamped food court Dine on 3 in early June. A few weeks later Dean opened his location on Bloor just west of Spadina. We dropped by the freshly minted Annex location to check it out.

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The Dish

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Introducing: Barton Snacks, the Annex’s new spot for ice cream and specialty chips (together at last)

Barton Snacks sits, appropriately enough, on the corner of Barton and Bathurst, just north of Bathurst Station (Image: Susan Keefe)

The corner snack spot is a staple of any neighbourhood worth its salt, and the corner of Bathurst and Barton may have found just that in Barton Snacks. Owned and operated by Katherine Lehto and Chris Sherwood (from the Adelaide St. Pub), the quaint and kitschy shop opened its doors during the first week of June and has been supplying the area with ice cream and munchies ever since. We stopped in to get the scoop.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: The White Brick Kitchen, a new spot for American comfort food (“Tater Tots” included)

The newest local joint serving up hearty comfort food is tucked in among the Korean eateries on Bloor Street West. The White Brick Kitchen, on the corner of Bloor and Euclid, is the work of brothers Stephen and Matthew Howell, both George Brown alumni (Matthew took hospitality management, while Stephen did culinary arts). After several years working in local restaurants—Stephen is an alum of The Stockyards and Jump—the siblings decided to combine forces on their own place.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Easy Restaurant, the College Street outpost of the classic Parkdale breakfast joint

(Image: Susan Keefe)

With the advent of brinner and the dizzying popularity of all things bacon, it’s not surprising that all-day breakfast joints like the Parkdale institution Easy Restaurant are doing well. The ultra-laid-back California-inspired spot cut its teeth at the foot of Roncesvalles Village, and last month it set its sights on Little Italy, opening a sister location on College. We dropped by to check it out.

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: Dine on 3, the $35-million facelift to Yorkdale’s food offerings

The central seating area of Dine on 3: not a plastic chair or styrofoam plate in sight

More often than not, eating at a mall food court entails styrofoam plates, disposable cutlery and, at best, indifferently prepared food. But take heart: Yorkdale Shopping Centre’s new elevated food court Dine on 3, taking a cue from last year’s Urban Eatery makeover at the Eaton Centre, is on a mission to change all that. Flooded with daylight and peppered with refined, semi-secluded seating areas, Dine on 3 creates a laid back, luxurious atmosphere that’s a far cry from the crowded, plastic ambience of a traditional food court. Anthony Casalanguida, the general manager of Yorkdale, wanted to create an “oasis” for weary shoppers looking to “refresh and recharge,” and after 14 months of work and a $35-million investment, he’s betting he’s accomplished just that.

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