Former Cowbell chef Peter Ramsay, who also did a stint as the chef de cuisine at Sidecar in Little Italy, is opening a new seafood restaurant in early July at 1564 Queen West, where Mark Cutrara’s bistro Cowbell resided for six years before closing in February. Geraldine is named after Ramsay’s grandmother and will serve seafood instead of meat. The restaurant will also do afternoon tea on the weekend—a dainty departure from Toronto’s current obsession with gut-busting brunches.[NOW]
A proposal from First Capital Realty to build a 65,000-square-foot mixed-used development on the site of the Humbertown strip mall in Etobicoke has local residents, including mayor Rob Ford and his brother Doug, concerned for the neighbourhood’s suburban character. The proposal comprises five buildings containing 576 apartment units, 28 townhouses, 21,000 square metres of commercial space and underground parking. Councillor Gloria Lindsay-Luby and neighbours say it will bring traffic congestion and an unwelcome spike in population density, and the mayor himself showed up at a Etobicoke Community Council meeting last night to put magnets on the cars in the parking lot slam the scheme and remind developers that “this isn’t downtown, this Etobicoke.” Meanwhile, the residents’ association has hired an architect to draw up a proposal for the kind of development they might support, which has 202 residential units, a town square and a maximum building height of six stories rather than 12. First Capital, however, says it’s not planning to adjust its plans before city council considers them at a June 11 meeting. [Globe and Mail]
Jet-setting philanthropist Peter Munk, the 85-year-old founder of Toronto-based Barrick Gold Corp., is taking a rogue approach to real estate: he’s dumping big money into condo developments at a time when Toronto’s already overflowing with high rises and other developers are backing away. Munk is using his personal wealth to help finance CD Capital, headed by Todd Cowan and Jordan Dermer, who were previously execs at another real estate company backed by Munk. The developers’ projects include, among others, the 300-unit Sixty Colborne project near St. Lawrence Market and 155 Redpath at Yonge and Eglinton, an area Dermer argues is ripe for development. Munk, meanwhile, says the city’s starry future is reason enough to invest. Hard to argue with a billion-dollar man. [Globe and Mail]
So many people are now hitting swanky open houses for fun that agents and owners are looking for ways to separate penniless oglers from serious, deep-pocketed buyers. Case in point: anyone wanting to view Edgemont, a sprawling beachfront property currently listed for $5 million, will have to make a $50 donation to the SickKids Foundation before being allowed inside the seven-bedroom heritage home. The agent says potential buyers, tired of keeping their own listed homes showroom ready, are sympathetic to the owner’s efforts to minimise disruption and happily pony up the cash. As for the gawkers, they’ll have to make do with the exterior photos from the online listing—or stroll along the beach with binoculars. [Toronto Star]
Roberto and Sandra Mandarino, who own The Slow Room espresso shop in Little Italy, are opening a rustic Italian restaurant called Sagra, along with matching food truck Bestia, sort of the restaurant equivalent of a Mini Me. The roving food truck, which is the only one in Toronto with a wood-burning oven, hits streets next week, and the restaurant is scheduled to open next month in the Junction—possibly the city’s only neighbourhood left without a classic Italian pizza and pasta place.
Bistro Jam Caféclosed ten days ago and already a new restaurant is opening in its place. Later this week Gord MacLeod, a former sous chef at La Vecchia and Coquine, and partner Fakhurddin Shaikh are set to open Fare Game, a neighbourhood restaurant focused on game like venison, ostrich and rabbit. The pair is taking a bit of a risk with the location: the Carlton Street room has changed from the Cosmo Café to the Jam Café to Fare Game in just a few short years.
Restaurants have never had much luck at 55 Colborne. In the last two years, both The Bowery and Osteria 55 have tried and failed to woo the Financial District’s after-work crowds to the cavernous space. Hanif Harji, who collaborated with Charles Khabouth on King West hot spots Patria and Weslodge, is hoping to change that with Switch, a slick, new two-storey lounge set to open in early May. The main floor, modeled on Prohibition-era Brooklyn bars, serves cocktails and bar snacks until 10 p.m., when the DJ cranks up the tunes and turns the place into a full-blown club. The lower level, meanwhile, is tricked out like a kitschy rec room with video games, shag carpets and big screen TVs. If the success of similar places, like ping-pong club Spin and bowling-alley-slash-bar The Ballroom, are any indication, Switch may just overcome the 55 Colborne curse. [Notable]
Canadian homebuyers have long been jealous of the detailed home sales information available on American real estate websites like Zillow—and, unfortunately, they’ll have to remain jealous for now, because the federal Competition Bureau has lost its high-profile bid to force the Toronto Real Estate Board to loosen its grip on the info. The bureau had accused the 35,000-agent board of unfairly keeping sales data from low-cost brokerages (and through them, homebuyers and sellers) for fear of losing out on commissions. (For its part, TREB says it has concerns about homeowner privacy and safety.) After a five-year investigation, two months of hearings and an eight-month wait, a federal tribunal dismissed the case at least in part because it was filed under the wrong section of the Competition Act. The bureau is considering whether it will appeal or re-file. [Globe and Mail]
After nearly six years on Harbord Street, Tati Bistro is winding down. Co-owners Wayne Parent and Whitney Brown made the announcement earlier this week on Facebook, and Parent told The Grid that one factor behind the decision was the increased competition in Toronto’s restaurant scene. Tati’s last day of operation will be Mother’s Day, on May 12, when they’ll offer both brunch and dinner; chef Laurent Brion, meanwhile, will continue to run Chabichou,the restaurant’s nearby sister cheese shop, with Brown. Tati’s space has already been sold to new owners, who plan to launch their own restaurant there—which means the airy back patio, passed down from Kensington Kitchen, will live on.
The Drake Hotel has been dropping mysterious hints about its new standalone restaurant since early March. Now, the official word is out: Drake One Fifty is going to be a giant 175-seat space in a former bank building at the corner of York and Adelaide. Newly appointed executive chef Ted Corrado is designing the menu, carrying over the Drake’s standard elevated comfort food, and like the Queen West original, the downtown location is a hodgepodge of spaces, including a dining room, bar, 70-seat patio, a micro-Drake General Store and curated art and performance rooms, all in the Drake’s vintage decor.
RaviKanagarajah, the chef and owner of RaviSoups,died last Friday of a stroke at the age of 42. The Sri Lankan–born chef first made his reputation for soups as a saucier at MildredPierce, before opening the first location of his eponymous chain in the entertainment district in 2007 (second and third locations followed, on Queen West and in the Junction). The chef’s brother Suresh Kanagarajah told NOW that he intends to continue with plans to expand further and that the restaurants will remain family-run. The news set off a wave of fond reminiscences from diners and chefs, who praised Kanagarajah’s friendly demeanour and finely tuned palate. After a brief break, all three restaurants reopened for regular service yesterday. [NOW]
Shortly after announcing that Ted Corrado had taken over as corporate executive chef, The Drakehas revealed that it will be launching Drake 150, a stand-alone restaurant downtown. Details are scarce, but the restaurant’s placeholder website drops a few hints. The new spot will apparently be located in a “postmodern office building” that used to house to a commercial bank (the site has an archival photo of the building that’s now The Bay at Queen and Yonge), and the complex will also contain a bar and a Drake General Store outpost.
This just in from the latest in the never-endingseriesof cityrankings: Toronto has 1,765 “high-net-worth individuals,” defined as someone with at least $30 million (USD) in net assets. Real estate consultants Knight Frank also predicted the ranks of Toronto’s rich would surpass 2,300 over the next decade, though that’s still a long way away from New York, which topped the list of world cities with 7,580 ultra-wealthy residents. Toronto is currently in 20th position, which puts it ahead of Zurich, Munich, Singapore, Sydney, Dusseldorf, Hamburg, Geneva, Melbourne, Frankfurt and Rome. [h/t Globe and Mail]
Like Shakespeare’s greatest plays, Toronto politics is rife with tragically flawed leaders, sudden betrayals and grasping underlings—which is why John Lorinc’s latest Bard-inspired column is so sharply funny. In a departure from his usual city hall analyses, the Spacing contributor offers a synopsis of a pretend Elizabethan play about Rob Ford’s mayoral tenure (or, rather, the reign of Robert, King of Toronto). The satire is biting and the casting, spot-on: Doug Ford becomes an overreaching Earl, Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler and Adam Vaughan are rabble-rousing commoners and Sue-Ann Levy is King Robert’s court scribe. Giorgio Mammoliti, of course, takes his rightful role as court jester. Read the entire story [Spacing] »