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Amaya’s Bazaar Global Food Bar shuts down—but the concept isn’t dead yet

(Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

After less than a year, Bazaar Global Food Bar, the casual Mount Pleasant restaurant that was part of Hemant Bhagwani’s Amaya empire, has closed. Bhagwani told The Dish that low weekday traffic and high rents are responsible for the closure; the family-oriented concept did well on weekends, but the place stood empty the rest of the week. But Davisville’s loss is Baldwin Village’s gain: Bhagwani has taken over the space formerly belonging to Jodhpore Club at 33 Baldwin Street and plans to open a new Bazaar in the near future. Despite the low volume at his first location, he thinks that downtowners will take to the concept. The cut-rate rent, one third the cost of the Mount Pleasant location, won’t hurt either. Meanwhile, Bhagwani’s nearly completed an extensive renovation and menu change-up at the original Bayview location. The room will feature a heavy dose of reclaimed wood, while the menu is refocusing on traditional Indian dishes, albeit with an emphasis on local ingredients (think Upper Canada cream cheese lamb seekh kebab and asparagus kofta). The refreshed Amaya is currently in a soft opening phase with a grand reopening planned for mid-January.

  • June

    Location is the problem here. It has seen a series of failed restaurants. This stretch of Mt. Pleasant doesn’t know what it wants to be. Too many manicure places and antique shops, plus the demographics are all wrong for a good restaurant. There is a high percentage of seniors, who are not into trying anything new or unfamiliar. Yes, there are young professionals but most of them are too busy with young toddlers to make dining out a regular thing. Global Food Bar was a great concept that would have done well in a different neighborhood.

  • Not location

    It was the concept, not the location, that led to this restaurant’s failure. Serving watered down versions of dishes from various countries to cater to the middle of the road is not a recipe for success, especially not in Toronto where we have easy access to wide varieties of cuisine. Things will not be any better for them on Baldwin, what with all the great little restaurants already there. I hate to be one of those downtown snobs, but the concept might do better as suburban plaza restaurant, like a Milestones or something. Better yet, the owners should stick with their Amaya brand, which I suspect is rather successful.

  • Tired of crap food

    Save all the garbage you buy from Sysco for hell. We don’t need any more factory farmed chicken tikka masala, butter factory farmed chicken, or any other bs downtown, uptown, or anywhere in our town.

  • djn

    well said! you took the words out of my mouth. mr. bhagwani should have known better but he wouldnt dare listen to anyone. his ego is much, much larger than his industry acumen. the problem is; his ego is of relative size to his wallet. on a whim he opens up places with atrocious concepts with no concern over execution and sustainability. his fundamental lack of respect for day to day operations is astounding. check dinesafe to see how many Amaya restaurants have been shuttered temporarily for health violations. i know that both amaya locations on bayview have been shut down at some point and the one on yonge has also been shut down for a spell.

  • djn

    oh yeah, i had to laugh that he wanted to bring his family concept to BALDWIN street! lots of kids running around that neighborhood. not exactly the first place i would think of for a kid themed restaurant. chinatown, u of t, hospitals, AGO,…probably the worst decision for a location of all time. the previous poster was right that if mr. bhagwani must continue to serve garbage to us all, do it where there are children and families in abundance ie. oakville, whitby, etc. i am excited to follow the ‘progress’ of this latest venture of his. from opening, temporary shut down due to infestation, re-opening and finally, closure. see you all in a year!

  • SG

    This is an idiot. I actually read the dine safe inspections and one of the locations he was given three conditional passes in 4 months and 4th time shut down !! OMG.. and he is still in business??