All stories relating to King West

The Goods

Stores

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Store Guide: Da Zoo, a King West boutique with an impressive lineup of avant-garde designers

Store Guide: Da Zoo
Name: Da Zo0
Sells: Avant-garde menswear, womenswear, accessories and shoes
Contact info: 613 King St. W., 416-792-5050, da-zooo.com
Hours: M-W 10-6, Th-F 10-8, Sa 10-6, Su 1-5
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Da Zoo, the new store from habitual boutique owner Peter Halpin, exemplifies the kind of cool, eccentric vibe that independent boutiques excel at and corporate-owned stores can never quite pull off. For the King West shop, Halpin teamed with another Toronto style stalwart, Jakub Szczepaniak, to find the right medley of established designers (Rick Owens Drkshdw, Vivienne Westwood, DSquared2) and lesser-known labels (Undercover by Jun Takahashi, Alexandre Plokhov and the insanely exclusive Geoffrey B. Small). A somewhat more reasonably-priced in-house line, 613 King, rounds out the mix.

Our favourite pieces have unique design details that, coupled with the taxidermy and oddities lining the walls, give the store a playful vibe. A pair of Maison Martin Margiela boots, for instance, have subtle reflective perforations that light up in flash photos ($1,250) and a rope-like scarf tapers into ends that looks like horse tails ($250). With Zeppelin pumping over the speakers and Bay Street wild-card Michael Wekerle as executive director, the shop exudes the swagger of an aging rocker—in the best way possible.

See inside »

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Pizzeria Libretto and Porchetta and Co. to open side-by-side restaurants along King West’s trattoria-thon strip

 

Porchetta-LibrettoRemember when Pizzeria Libretto featured a delicious pizza inspired by Porchetta and Co.? Well, that moment of food nirvana is about to hit the city again, only in a much bigger way: Libretto and Porchetta are set to open new locations next door to each other on King West next year. Nick auf der Mauer (owner of Porchetta and Co.) and Max Rimaldi (co-owner of Pizzeria Libretto) have confirmed to us that they are expanding with separate restaurants that will be attached at the hip. The new restaurants will be located somewhere between Bathurst and Spadina, where there’s no shortage of competition—Buca, Buonanotte, Cibo Wine Bar, Gusto 101, Scarpetta and Tutti Matti are all within walking distance.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo of the Week: $780,000 for a two-storey loft in a former perfumery on King West

Condo of the Week: 833 King Street West, Penthouse 607

Address: 833 King Street West, Penthouse 607
Neighbourhood: Niagara
Agent: Elizabeth Machula and Chris Dawson. Re/Max Condos Plus Corp., Brokerage
Price: $779,900

The Place: A two-bedroom, two-level unit in a 1930s-era perfume factory at King and Niagara.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Quoted: David Mirvish can’t believe the city won’t embrace his Frank Gehry mega-development

(Image: George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty)

I’m bemused because I thought I would be welcome with open arms, and that there wasn’t a more appropriate place for this type of activity than this block on King Street.

David Mirvish, on the unproductive, year-long negotiations with city planners over his proposed condo mega-project designed by Frank Gehry. The city is balking at the King West development’s height and density, and the four heritage buildings that would have to come down to make way for it. Meanwhile, Mirvish says that downsizing the already tweaked designs would completely derail the architecturally ambitious project. Come January, Mirvish plans to appeal to the Ontario Municipal Board, which, given its pro-development reputation, we’re betting will give the proposal the green light. [Toronto Star]

The Informer

Real Estate

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Condo Showdown: five Liberty Village units for under $550,000

Condo Showdown: Five condos in Liberty Village for around $500,000Liberty Village has morphed from an industrial dead zone into an enclave of concrete, glass and brick in just a few years. Since units are more affordable than in King West proper, the neighbourhood is popular with first-time buyers (young professionals also appreciate the proximity to necessities like a Starbucks, an LCBO, a grocery store, banks, pubs and trendy furniture stores). A budget of about $500,000 will easily cover a two-bedroom condo in one of the newer towers, but those set on a loft-style apartment will have to compromise on amenities or space (or both). Here, five properties recently on the market.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Photo: the new design for the Mirvish-Gehry condo complex on King West

The second wave of plans are in for the hugely ambitious Frank Gehry-designed, David Mirvish-financed condo complex on the block currently home to the Princess of Wales Theatre. The tweaks, which include a new, cloud-like podium made of glass and wood, are garnering positive reviews for their clearer, more fluid (and still very Gehry) vision, but are still a long way from being approved. Mirvish is still in negotiations with city planners, who want all three towers taken down by about 30 storeys and several heritage structures preserved. City staff expect to make their final recommendations in early 2014.

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The Dish

Restaurants

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Former Origin chef Steve Gonzalez is opening a new place for Latin American street food on King West

(Image: Mishki Vaccaro)

Best known as the beloved class clown on season one of Top Chef Canada, Steve Gonzales, a former chef de cuisine at Claudio Aprile’s Origin, is starting his own restaurant in the 3000-square-foot space formerly occupied by Cheval nightclub. The Latin American spot is named Valdez and seats 120-140, plus a lounge area and rooftop patio. Gonzales spent the last two years doing pop ups and events (and winning the Guacamole Smackdown at the Drake Hotel), and Valdez is his first foray as a chef and restaurant owner. It’s scheduled to open at the end of the month. [The Grid]

The Informer

Business

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Great Offices: a digital design agency’s ultra-playful King West digs

Great Offices: OneMethod

What: OneMethod, a digital design agency whose portfolio includes Wrigley, Moosehead, Nokia, Quiznos and Nestlé
Where: The early 1900s Krangle Building at King and Spadina
How Big: 5,700 square feet for a staff of 30

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The Dish

Openings

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Introducing: PS by Prettysweet, a new custom cake shop and bakery on King West

Name: PS by Prettysweet
Neighbourhood: King West
Contact info: 848 King St. W., 647-352-3318, psbyprettysweet.com, @prettysweetlife
Owner and chef: Adjoa Duncan, a pastry chef who worked at Splendido, Senses and abroad before launching a custom cake business

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The Informer

Real Estate

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Condomonium: $1.65 million for a parkside penthouse in developer Brad Lamb’s King West building

ADDRESS: 25 Stafford Street, Penthouse 906

NEIGHBOURHOOD: Niagara

AGENT: Brad Lamb, Brad J. Lamb Realty Inc.

PRICE: $1,654,000

THE PLACE: This two-level penthouse in the new Parc Lofts building faces Stanley Park, where the King West crowd often congregates for baseball games and puppy watching.

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The Dish

The Month That Was

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The Month that Was: the Toronto restaurants and bars that opened and closed in December

Sang Kim’s new Yakitori Bar (Image: Gizelle Lau)

Opening

  • Yakitori Bar and Seoul Food Co.—Restauranteur Sang Kim (Ki, Blowfish) set an ambitious goal for himself: one restaurant, thirty days. It must’ve been too easy, because he ended up opening two, an izakaya and a Korean takeout joint. Read our Introducing post »
  • Hawthorne Food and Drink—Chef Eric Wood (Fabarnak) finds inspiration for Hawthorne’s menu in Toronto’s wide array of ethnic cuisines. Bonus: he also runs a paid training program for newly graduated cooks. Read our Introducing post »

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The Goods

Street Style

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Year in Review: the 15 best street-style looks of 2012

Every two weeks, we go to a different neighbourhood, seeking Toronto’s best-dressed denizens and examining the diverse style sets that make up the city. This week, we look back on a year’s worth of outfits and pick our favourite 15. They run the gamut from subtle to attention-grabbing, ladylike to rockstar, retro to decidedly modern. All of them, however, share one important attribute: they are undeniably cool.

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The Dish

Deathwatch

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King West’s Cool Hand Luc is getting evicted (and selling off all scoops for a dollar)

(Image: Gizelle Lau)

Perhaps the apocalypse is arriving this weekend after all. Cool Hand Luc, the cheery ice cream parlour that Luc Essiambre opened last summer, is closing tomorrow. According to a post on the store’s Facebook timeline, the building that houses the shop at 545 King Street West has been sold to a new owner, who has other plans for the space. Essiambre is currently looking for a new location in the neighbourhood, but needs to clear out his stock asap—which means that scoops are now selling for $1. [Facebook]

The Dish

Food TV

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The Layover in Toronto: Anthony Bourdain’s favourite spots and best quips

Anthony Bourdain taking bone luge shots at The Black Hoof with Ezra Title; Bourdain with Scott Vivian at Porchetta and Co. (Images: Courtesy of Travel Channel)

For last night’s episode of The Layover, Anthony Bourdain and his merry crew squeezed as many of Toronto’s culinary delights as possible into their 30-odd hours in the city (we covered his trip back in July). And while he seemed genuinely impressed with some of what he saw, we’re not gonna lie: it was pretty much Bourdain by the numbers. Quirky store owner? Check! (Olivia Go of Tosho Knife Arts). Local punk band? Check! (Fucked Up). Over-the-top feats of on-air gluttony? Check! (Bone luge at The Black Hoof, expertly administered by Jen Agg). Still, there’s nothing a Torontonian likes better than to be acknowledged by an outsider—from New York, no less. In this respect, the show was a complete success, with Bourdain delivering his trademark razor-sharp backhanded compliments with relative abandon. Below, a roundup of where the Kitchen Confidential author stopped and, more importantly, what he said about it.

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The Informer

Real Estate

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The Chase: a first-time buyer finds her dream downtown condo in under a week

The Chase: a first-time condo buyer finds that doing her homework really pays offThe buyer: Natalie Pastuszak, a 28-year-old marketing associate.

The story: Pastuszak was sharing a home with her mother in Etobicoke and suffering an hour-long commute to and from the Financial District. “I was just going from one underground parking lot to another,” she says. “I wasn’t even going outside.” Two years ago, she finally decided to move downtown. She’d watched rents skyrocket and figured owning wouldn’t be much more expensive, so she started poring over MLS listings and researching condos online. By last summer, her finances were in order and she was ready to begin looking in earnest. Her dream place was a sunny one-bedroom suite with a terrace and an on-site gym for no more than $300,000—and it had to be within walking distance of work. (She was especially drawn to the eating and drinking scene on King West.) Thanks to her homework, it took only five days of condo hunting before she got exactly what she wanted.

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