Carman's Dining Club, 1959-2009 (Photo courtesy of Google)
Arthur Carman’s storied and troubled steak house on Alexander Street went into hibernation this summer, never to wake up. This makes the restaurant—credited with introducing Toronto to garlic bread—the latest Village establishment to disappear in recent months (the list also includes Crews and Tango,Bigliardi’s, Il Fornello and Zelda’s).
Brew colours: coffee houses are sprouting up everywhere this recession (Photo by Iain Farrell)
While McDonald’s, Tim Hortons and Starbucks duke it out across North America in their giveaway coffee war, a new batch of independent brewers has emerged in Toronto. Since our last roundup six months ago, at least 13 new cafés have opened up. Here, organized by neighbourhood, is our survey of the city’s hot new fuel-up joints.
Lovers likely awaiting a table at Foxley, a popular Ossington Avenue restaurant (Photo by Jessica Darmanin)
Over the past few years, we’ve watched the Ossington strip evolve from a no-go set of dodgy storefronts to an edgy Queen West offshoot to the city’s hippest drag—a gentrification so rapid that city council recently imposed a year-long moratorium on licensing new bars and restaurants. While residents and entrepreneurs face off over growing pains, we traipsed the avenue, day and night, to compile a user’s guide to Toronto’s latest eating and drinking destination.
Ossified: The avenue is changed forever (Photo by Dawn Paley)
How much more can Ossington take? A lot, it seems. The avenue’s seemingly endless gentrification will take another step this summer when chef Paul Boehmer opens his first restaurant, Böhmer. After considering Queen West and Yorkville, the former Rosewater Supper Club chef set his sights on a 5,000-square-foot single-storey building at 93 Ossington Avenue. “I see a real surge of restaurants on Ossington. It’s bringing the whole street alive, and it’s full every day,” says the chef, whose credits also include Scaramouche, Atlas and, more recently, Six Steps. “If you capture a reasonable market—like, don’t charge $45 for an entrée—and keep it to a price range where people can afford it and hang out, they’ll keep coming back.”
Mark McEwan, shopkeep (Photo by Nikki Leigh McKean)
We’ve been hearing about McEwan—Mark McEwan’s proposed gourmet grocery store—for what seems like eons now. News about it broke in late 2007, with an opening date set for January 2009. But then we were told we’d have to wait another five months. Now, even though controversy is brewing over the store’s gentrifying effects, we are told that the suspense is almost over. Come June, the Bymark chef will open the doors to his supermarket at Lawrence and Don Mills. He envisions the size of his store as somewhere between Pusateri’s and Whole Foods, with aisles of gourmet ingredients and prepared foods tended by employees offering restaurant-style service.