We wanted to update you with some news from the local restaurant scene.
A new juicebar and eatery will open soon on the street. They call themselves The Grow-Op, and are instagramming as they renovate the former fish market at 222 Ossington, just south of Dundas.
Hawker Bar‘s expansion to the second floor allows for some creative events at the beloved Asian resto-bar. You can rent the space out yourself, and the staff are also planning some fun themed nights. Stay tuned!
Fans of the vast selection of craft beer at Get Well no longer have to leave when they want food to go with it. Beginning this weekend, North of Brooklyn Pizzeria is serving slices and pies to eat in or to go from the bar.
Rock Lobster founder Matt Dean Pettit is launching a Food Network web series! Not satisfied with three outposts of his seafood restaurant, including the original at 110 Ossington, a line of seafood products in supermarkets, and an acclaimed cookbook, he’s going to become a Food Network star! Matt and Damian Abraham from punk bandF*cked Updid a series called Super Snack Brothers, which we’ll be able to watch as of Friday, March 27.
As is always the case, change comes whether we want it or not. Boutique fashion stores have bloomed along Ossington in the last few years – from the early arrival of Johnathan and Olivia to the recent addition of Tiger of Sweden to PopUp 120. The list goes on. This week, unfortunately, we heard about the imminent departure of a beloved independent local retail store, Philip Sparks, as well as local salon Lush and Lavish.
Philip Sparks ran a number of pop-up shops on Ossington before deciding to move in permanently in March of 2012. His store has been a staple of the fashion industry on the street and in the city, and he’s a regular host of evening cocktails, tie making and other events during festivals and other times of year. He has always maintained his studio in the junction and he’ll be continuing to sell his clothes from there. In the meantime, stop in to his shop this weekend as he is having a good sale.
Today Ossington fills in for another location as the setting of another TV shoot: this time, it’s Northern California, the set for DirectTV series Rogue.
While we didn’t get to see series stars Thandie Newton, Cole Hauser or Andrea Roth, the production did take advantage of some of the unoccupied spaces on Ossington. 88 Ossington, which may soon be a boutique hotel, was mocked up to be a tavern or restaurant named T. Edison’s, and the space next to LOT at 100 Ossington was cleared out for use, whether for filming or storage, we don’t know.
Did you see any of the action of this police drama today? Let us know in the comments or tweet us @ossingtonvil
The property at 1200 Dundas, where the Beer Store is, has been put up for sale. One of our readers tipped us off with a sales brochure for the property. Bids were due on February 26th. It’s a large piece of property that contains just The Beer store and a local parking lot that keeps ZipCar cars and serves as quick-stop parking lot for people visiting Nova Era and doing other local shopping. Last summer, the parking lot was also a music venue for the Dundas West Fest.
It seems to be a likely development spot on a prime piece of downtown real estate – perhaps for mid-rise condos or other mixed use developments. See the description below:
With Bellwoods Brewery in the neighbourhood, and an expanding craft beer selection at the LCBO, we haven’t ordered much from the Beer Store in the last year or so, but it is a convenient place to return empties (even if they don’t accept the Bellwoods bottles). It’s not clear whether the lease to the current tenant extends into the sale, but the description from the broker seems to imply that it does.
Porter House opened in December at 1321 Dundas Street West, former home to Brockton General, and we finally got in last night!
Yes, we have tried unsuccessfully a couple of other times to find a seat at this new vegan pub on Dundas a few blocks west of Ossington, mostly on weekends. Porter House does not take reservations, and the food is good and plentiful, so be prepared for a little waiting time during busy periods.
One of the main reasons that Porter House should be popular is its description: a vegan pub with craft beer. That’s the first of its kind in our part of town, if not the whole downtown, and they deliver on both counts and then some: tasty, filling vegan meals and a good list of uncommon craft brews from Oast House, Bellwoods, Great Lakes and many more.
We got 2 snacks – the root vegetable salad and the curry fries – and one plate – the lentil and ale pie – to share. The portions are generous: we had leftovers. If you’re not vegan, it shouldn’t make a difference; we omnivores thoroughly enjoyed every bite.
The people who purchased homes at 109 Oz can be happy, as they have finally started demolishing the building which previously occupied the space. Yes, the storage facility (which showcased the heritage of Ossington, (sic)) is being knocked down for a condo.
There are fences up, probably to prevent people getting too close and hurting themselves, so it’s not easy to get photos, but we took some and they are posted below:
Here’s what it is supposed to look like when it’s done:
After much anticipation, La Cubana is finally open! Yes, as of this weekend, we now have a Cuban joint on Ossington. The owners of one of the early restaurants that made the strip famous, DeLux, have converted 92 Ossington into a snack bar style restaurant – similar to their successful location on Roncesvalles.
We already stopped in for lunch today. The space is bright and cheery, and the Cuban jazz playing on the stereo enhanced the party mood. It is a snack bar, so when you arrive, you must go to the counter to place your order. They are new, but we didn’t have to wait long for anything.
The menu is small and focuses on a few Cuban specialties including medianoche sandwiches and larger plates of ribs and roasted chicken. You can complement these with authentic side dishes of tostones, conch fritters and yuca frita.
They have a beer specially made for them, La Cubana beer, make by the Junction Brewing Company, vintage sodas, and red and white wine, as well as a selection of mixed cocktails including Cuban favorites mohitos and Cuba Libres.
For this opening weekend they are open from noon until 10pm today and tomorrow, and closed Monday, while reserving the right to change those hours while they are learning the ropes and training.
Vector Festival is in town next week, and InterAccess on the south end of Ossington is a partner and the main host of this festival which celebrates and showcases art in games and new media. The line-up sounds informative and fun, and while some events are ticketed, there are many freebies too!
Running from Wednesday, February 18th – Sunday, February 22nd, the festival offers lots of opportunities to explore, discover and enjoy new media and video game art, with workshops, exhibitions, parties and more. They are also using venues at Bento Miso workspace south of Trinity Bellwoods and Videofag in Kensington.
At Interaccess, the events start next Wednesday night with a free opening reception from 7-9PM. One highlight is on Saturday night, where 3 Canadians perform their versions of computer music.
If you’ve ever tried to get into Ossington’s Singapore street food restaurant Hawker Bar on a weekend night, it could be a challenge. But that’s now going to change. Hawker Bar has finally opened their second floor dining room to expand their seating area, and serve more hungry customers.
In early 2013, the team at Hawker applied to the city for a back patio to add to their small space, but unfortunately their application was denied. The plans then changed to renovate and redevelop the second floor. For about a year they’ve been gutting and rebuilding and the last couple of nights they’ve offered a sneak peek with a soft opening. They’ve also added some new menu items, including the “”Fry””-nanese and a Black Angus Strip Loin, pictured below.
Expect a public opening this coming Sunday, February 15. For more updates, follow their hashtag #HawkerUpstairs
The latest musical onstage at Lower Ossington Theatre is 2006’s multiple Tony winning story of sexual teenagers in turn of the century Germany, Spring Awakening. The rock musical is now playing on the small stage on Ossington Avenue, where it opened this weekend.
For those who don’t know, the musical was created with music by pop singer-songwriter Duncan Sheik. The original Broadway production launched careers of stars who went on to Glee, Pitch Perfect, The Newsroom and other hits.
The show offers a glimpse into the repressed lives of German teens in the 1890s as they discover their sexuality in many different ways. This is a very dramatic musical, and the stars at LOT deliver worthy performances. It’s also impressive to have a full live band backing the singers and dancers – the show is lively even when it’s sad. Spring Awakening runs 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission. Some of the topics are mature, and songs with names like “It’s A Bitch” and “Totally Fucked” tell you who you should and should not bring with you.
Spring Awakening is heartfelt and features drama and some laughs along with great vocals and the players put their all into the performances. It’s onstage until March 1st and tickets are available here.