Spring is a busy time on Ossington – new places popping up for short and long-term and older places getting some good news.
Two pop-ups are launching this month: online shops are taking the opportunity of empty spaces to engage with their customers in real life, so both Ace/Five and Fitzroy Boutique will be local for a while. Ace/Five, a menswear shop, opens today for the month of May at 1138 Dundas Street West, just east of Ossington. Fitzroy Boutique, a women’s fashion store, is popping up at 98 Ossington, in the space beneath Lower Ossington Theatre. According to a recent Facebook post, Fitzroy soft opened on Ossington this weekend, and will be here for a while.
A future long-term Ossington resident is already known to East Enders and Toronto bacon lovers. That’s right, Rashers is coming to Ossington, and from the looks of the storefront and their social media, it may open soon. So expect lots of bacon fans to descend on the strip soon!
Rashers Instagram Post
Rashers is converting the space at 182 Ossington, which was a Vietnamese coffee shop called Dalat Coffee before closing a few years ago.
Canadian Music Week is in Toronto next week, and Ossington Village will have a lot of CMW music. CMW is a 7 day long annual event with an industry conference, and a festival of music and comedy, and even films about music. for the public. The fest runs May 2nd-8th, and a lot of our local music venues are hosting shows.
CMW has taken over the mantle dropped by NXNE by hosting loads of musical acts from Canada and abroad at multiple music venues across the city. The lineup is extensive, with large acts at bigger venues like The Danforth Music Hall and Mod Club, and plenty of club shows at local places like The Dakota Tavern, The Garrison and The Painted Lady. Other nearby venues include The Great Hall and The Drake Underground.
Shows run Monday-Sunday next week. You can buy tickets to one showcase at one venue for $10-15, or $75 wristbands are still available online with access to most shows all week long.
The Garrison hosts a “Day Rager & Vendor Market” on Saturday, from 12-7pm – 7 bands play for free
Shows at The Dakota stick to their usual singer-songwriter/country-blues every night from Tuesday-Saturday: Friday night, international acts hit the stage, including, from Germany, Jesper Munk, and Australia’s Timberwolf
We’ve included the local shows in our calendar. Enjoy the music!
Ossington Village has a new housewares store in VdeV. The Montreal retailer has installed a Toronto outpost and, lucky us, it opened today at 120 Ossington, on the northwest corner of Argyle.
We stopped in to check out the wares and were very impressed with the selection! The space looks beautiful and it is filled with home decor, housewares and so much more! The product line reminds us of Fish’s Eddy meets Crate & Barrel. We took some photos of the varied items for sale: the product lines range from furniture, lighting and pillows to dishes, wall hangings, handbags and jewellery. Looking for a last minute housewarming gift or something for yourself? VdeV is a great addition to the growing home emporiums in the area like Stylegarage and Saudade.
Ossington’s local restaurants fared well on Joanne Kates’ recent list of best restaurants in Toronto. This year the list was broken up into two sections, one for the less expensive restaurants – categorized by her as those restaurants at which two people can eat for under $65 excluding taxes, tip and drinks – known as the ‘spend a little’ list, and the more expensive ones, priced above that level.
Some of the eateries on her less expensive list include:
The CONTACT Photography Festival celebrates 20 years in 2016, with exhibits and events big and small across Toronto. This annual photography festival is open to the public now through early June. The exhibits are not exclusive to museums and galleries, they also take place in restaurants, stores and other public spaces. There are many chances to experience the festival in the Ossington and Dundas area.
LE Gallery on Dundas West is hosting an exhibition that has already been recommended by Toronto press. We Soon Be Nigh! explores apocalyptic prophesies from the recent past, and is running at the gallery May 6-28.
HuntClub Gallery, also on Dundas West, is participating with an open exhibit about transgender and transsexual sex workers in Buenos Aires titled Hotel Gondolin running May 5-31.
Ossington is going to get busier with more incoming businesses: a store is opening this week and two locations are under renovation and applying for liquor licenses.
V de V announced an Ossington grand opening for this upcoming Thursday. The Montreal home design store will begin selling furniture, decor, lighting and more to Torontonians at 120 Ossington. We’ll share more once it’s open.
The first liquor license application is for 74 Ossington Ave, which has long been an empty space adjacent to Union Restaurant. The name on the application is for “Bar 74,” not very original, but also not necessarily the name they’ll stick with.
Further north on 184 Ossington, the space previously occupied by Unit A Architecture is getting a complete overhaul into a bar – or bar/restaurant called “Superpoint.”
We don’t know when Superpoint and Bar 74 will open but we’ll keep you posted.
Moliceiro Restaurant opened last night at 217 Ossington. The space was long occupied by sustainable seafood restaurant Fishbar until it’s surprising closure last summer, and then replaced for a very short time by Return to Oz. Since then, the empty space has been renovated into a rustic room with exposed brick walls, pretty lights in the entryway, and a giant mural in the back of one of the owners cooking pig on a spit.
Moliceiro bills itself as modern Portuguese cuisine. When we went to the opening night last night we felt almost like we were at a Portuguese family’s house for a potluck dinner. It was a “sneak peek” buffet offering for opening night, with pans of all the different menu items they will regularly serve a la carte, which provided an opportunity to get a taste of everything. The Portuguese menu included the traditional potatoes, but with a sweeter sauce than we expected, the suckling pig, churrasco chicken, and tarts for dessert. Also on the table: a cheese platter, varieties of rolls and breads, salads, breaded lamb chop with lentils, cod cakes, and a shrimp and mussels paella type dish.
A musician was playing classic rock inside the open garage door style window. Most of the customers seemed to be family and friends – we’ve heard the place is being run by family members of the owners of Alex Rei dos Leitos. If they can maintain the quality level of the churrasco they’ve been serving for decades next door, they should be able to find a customer base.
We were told by one of the servers last night that Moliceiro is where the owner’s father is from in Portugal. It turns out – after a wiki search – these are traditional Portuguese boats common to the Alveiro region. That boat is incorporated into their logo.
Moliceiro will have regular dinner service plus brunch on the weekends. They have a full bar, an assortment of Portuguese wines, and some Canadian craft beers on tap like Hops & Bolts and Creemore.
As of 4/20/16, Ossington Dispensary is now open and providing medicinal marijuana at 198 Ossington Avenue. If you’re like us, you’ve probably never stepped foot inside 198 Ossington, former home to Portugal Draperies.
We visited today and were warmly greeted by a receptionist who explained the process of obtaining medicinal marijuana. You do need a prescription or doctor’s note or evidence of a malady from a list of those which can be treated or aided with the use of the medical pot. The staff are well equipped to help understand and explain the process. Once they are assured of your medical need you can become a member, and can return and purchase regularly.
There are experts on staff who can explain all the different strains and varieties available, and what works best for your personal ailment, whether it’s flower, edible or extract. They have a variety of products available including marijuana good for morning use which doesn’t make you drowsy, to other species that are good for the evening, when drowsiness is what you’re looking for. They also have other products such as infused corn-nuts, chocolate, infused butter and more, as well as rolling papers and accessories.
We took some photos of some of the selection of products available. They just opened, so website is not up and running but they do have an instagram account. They are planning to have a doctor in-house for consultations and prescriptions.
A new Asian restaurant, Te, is now open at 70 Ossington. We stopped in last night and checked out the space, the menu and the drinks. The restaurant, which was formerly occupied by Baby Huey, seats about 40 with a window banquette up front, a long bar, two big tables for shared seating ala Oddseoul, and three small tables in the back corner.
The cocktail menu features traditional drinks modified with tea infusions, like the jasmine flavoured gin and tonic, and the Mango Black tea with scotch, assam tea and mango syrup, The beer menu is pretty standard, with Stella, Shock Top and PBR on the list.
The food menu is short but very interesting, with a mix of Taiwanese and Korean dishes, offering everything from kimchi ravioli to ramen covered jalapeno poppers and poutine and Taiwanese fried chicken! Quite a selection!
A lot of local restaurants are getting some good press lately. As spring and summer near, those south of the border are exploring where to travel. The neighbourhood is getting mentioned in all sorts of publications, both local and international, pointing out both the tried and true, and some hidden gems..
Omaw, the new southern style joint run by Matt Blondin and The Food Dudes, is booked nightly and probably will continue be in the near future, is rated #3 on the list. Located at the corner of Ossington and Humbert, Omaw opened late summer 2015.
Omaw is closely followed at #4 by Imanishi, the izakaya that opened late last year on Dundas West near Rusholme Road.
Dundas West newbie Antler gets some love here too, with raves for game meats, especially venison. This spot opened last fall and has been packing in diners to the small space at 1454 Dundas Street West.
Hanmoto, the tiny spot on Lakeview, and brother to Ossington favorite Oddseoul, is listed at #15. It’s tiny, but the food packs a lot of flavour.
When it comes to bars in Toronto, a few of Now’s favorites are also located in our part of town. Local beer and arcade bar Get Well rates #7 for both of those things, plus their recent addition of North of Brooklyn Pizza. Always reliable Reposado is recognized not just for it’s stellar selection of tequilas, but it’s great live music too, with a ranking of #14 on Now’s list. Dundas West wine bar Archive, located near Trinity Bellwoods Park, ranked #15. Check out the full list: there are a lot of great bars!
Toronto restaurants are getting quite a bit of press in the U.S. media; who can blame them for wanting to take advantage of our dollar?