For over a month, Leslieville meat shop Sausage Partners has been suspiciously “closed for renovations.” Now Rosedale butcher Olliffe has announced that they’ve acquired the Queen East storefront, where they’ll run a retail store and a wholesale meat plant to supply restaurants and other food shops (Kyle and Lorraine Deming, the husband-and-wife owners of Sausage Partners, are not involved). The Queen East location, which is opening Tuesday, will be the chain’s third—in 2011, they took over Sausage King in St. Lawrence Market.
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Restaurateurs Gregory Furstoss and Tory Yang took to Twitter over the weekend to announce that they’re shuttering Toronto’s only Alsatian restaurant. The couple launched Elle M’a Dit in 2011, kicking off a small restaurant renaissance along Baldwin Street, but have decided to close due to a private family issue. Yang says they hope to launch another restaurant in a year or so, and that a new Mexican place will move into the Elle M’a Dit space following a final, tasting-menu-only dinner on April 27.
On the same day that the ROM revealed that it’s closing C5, The Gardiner Museum, across the street, announced its own changing of the guard. On April 29, Jamie Kennedy is handing over control of the casual Gardiner Café to long-running Toronto caterer À la Carte Kitchen, though Kennedy will stay on as preferred caterer for weddings and other private events. The museum was previously the site of Jamie Kennedy at the Gardiner, the chef’s flagship fine dining restaurant, which he closed in 2009 during a previous contraction of his culinary empire.
After six years, two head chefs and a dramatic culinary shift, the restaurant on the top floor of the ROM’s Michael Lee-Chin Crystal will serve its last dinner on April 30. When C5 launched in 2007, chef Ted Corrado created an ambitious, decidedly high-end menu full of molecular flourishes (one characteristic appetizer: cured, compressed and shaved butternut squash with a citrus tea syrup and crumbled caramelized cream) that landed the restaurant on our list of the city’s best in 2009. But despite early critical praise, the pricey plates couldn’t fill the dining room, and in late 2011, The Compass Group (the foodservice giant operating the restaurant) reversed course and brought in celeb chef Corbin Tomaszeski, who jettisoned Corrado’s fussy preparations for cheaper, more approachable dishes (think flatbreads and BLTs). The Compass Group recently terminated its contract with the ROM, which is now in the process of finding a new provider to take over the space by the end of the year.
Riverside’s The Avro is shutting down after three years on the strip, following a request from its landlord for double the rent. In a farewell note on the bar’s website (complete with a ticking countdown clock), the owners reminisce about the comedy shows, indie film shoots and video game tournaments they hosted, and, naturally, draw comparisons to the demise of the place’s famous namesake. The Avro’s last service will be on April 26, and as promised, there are no plans to reopen at a new location. [The Avro]
The Annex’s 40-year-old Karma Co-Op will likely close its doors this June unless it can procure at least 100 new members and $21,000 in additional monthly revenue. The member-owned and operated non-profit food shop, it seems, never quite recovered from expenses incurred during a renovation in 2008. Manager Talia McGuire told The Toronto Star that only about 60 per cent of the co-op’s 1,000 members are regular shoppers, and that group simply isn’t buying enough. It also can’t help that Fiesta Farms, which caters to the same organic locavore market (without membership fees or volunteering duties), is only a short walk away. In an email to residents, the co-op announced that it will begin closing on Mondays (it employs nine paid staff members), raising prices on bulk items and produce and offering a new month-long trial period to entice prospective members. [Reddit]
Centro, the old-school Italian power restaurant at Yonge and Eglinton, is closing on March 2, and owner Armando Mano is opening up a more casual (and less expensive) restaurant in its place. Executive chef Symon Abad and general manager Jeremy Geyer are staying on, but the menu, name and decor are changing. “After twenty-five years in business and some serious thought, we decided we needed to change to keep up with the changing neighbourhood and the younger demographic,” said Mano.
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Claudio Aprile, the chef and owner of Colborne Lane, revealed this afternoon that he’s closing his six-year-old restaurant, the standard bearer for modernist cuisine in Toronto at its peak.
It’s been an honour & privilege to share @colbornelane with you. Last service is happening very soon.
— claudio aprile (@claudioaprile) February 21, 2013
UPDATE: Aprile says he’s shutting down Colborne Lane because the restaurant ran its course, not for financial reasons. The final service is likely taking place Saturday evening. His focus is now on expanding his Origin brand (the third and largest location, at Bayview Village, is set to open in May), although he hopes to return to the more ambitious style of food he served at Colborne Lane in the future.
The long and sad story of the demise of Captain John’s Seafood Restaurant may soon reach an unexpected end: a Hamilton businessman wants to tow the boat to that city’s harbour and re-open it as a floating banquet hall or casino (Giorgio Mammoliti is presumably kicking himself). Don Maga told the Toronto Star that he’s on the verge of completing a deal for the MS Jadran, although he was cagey about what would happen to the $568,000 in property taxes that the City of Toronto claims are owed by John Letnik, the boat’s current owner. Jim Serba, the man behind the Save Captain John petition, says Letnik has been in talks with Maga and other potential buyers, but expressed his concerns that in the event of a sale, the captain would still be left on the hook. [Toronto Star]
Mark Cutrara announced the end of his six-year-old Queen West farm-to-table restaurant over the weekend. Cowbell was a forerunner of the nose-to-tail ethos that’s taken over Toronto kitchens, and Cutrara set up shop in Parkdale long before the current wave of hip eateries—Parts and Labour, Grand Electric, Chantecler, Porzia—moved in. Business had been slow since last summer, and as a sole proprietor he didn’t have the deep pockets to last the usual winter lull. The chef has no immediate plans for a new restaurant, but said his next venture would likely involve investors.
Late last summer, the decades-old Prague Find Food Emporium reopened under new ownership as Prague European Kitchen. Now, a notice posted on the restaurant’s door has announced that the new incarnation has shuttered as well:
Prague has been sold as of January 20th and is no longer in operation. New owners will be taking over the space as of February 1st.
No word yet on whether the newest set of owners will be keeping the Prague name alive.
After just over two years on the Danforth, Aravind, which had earned a reputation for serving some of the most sophisticated Indian food in the city, has closed. Owner Aravind Kozhikott previously worked under Marc Thuet at Conviction and Bistro Bakery Thuet. His father Raj Kozhikott told The Grid that the restaurant’s east-side location wasn’t making sense, since most of their patrons came from further west. Indeed, Kozhikott said he’s currently scouting for a more appropriate spot, and hopes to reopen in the next few months. Meanwhile, Aravind’s Danforth space is being taken over by the brand-new Namaste Nepal Restaurant and Bar. [The Grid]