Yours Truly, the restaurant at 229 Ossington that renovated the old Galaxy Donuts spot (remember them?) announced today that September will be their last month of service and then they will be shutting their doors for good. They opened their doors in December 2011 to a small but high quality menu. During the course of their life they wandered back and forth between prix fixe menus and a la carte, with a focus on small dishes. They also had a great bar staff serving up unique cocktails and other drinks. At the end of March last year, Jeff Claudio, the famed chef they hired to get the restaurant going, departed for other opportunities and to travel the world and learn about more food. They hired Lachlan Culjak to replace him, and the food remained at a very high standard.
Ardor Bistro hasn’t been open for ages, and we’ve learned via social media that a new spot – that sounds delicious – will be opening at 59 Ossington soon. Ardor Bistro couldn’t find their way - it probably didn’t help that their signature drink was exceedingly difficult to get in stock – but Borealia has a good chance of success. The owner is Evelyn Wu Morris, who’s twitter profile lists Fat Duck, O+B, Coi and Nota Bene as her resume. Earlier this month, they hosted a pop-up dinner with an amazing menu. She and her team are aiming for an October opening of their restaurant, and we can’t wait!
The space that housed Levack Block has been undergoing some renos since closing last spring. The roomy space at 88 Ossington will soon be occupied by a stellar team of Toronto food world icons, Matt Blondin and The Food Dudes. Blondin has served as chef at Momofuku Daisho and Acadia and The Food Dudes serve high-end lowbrow food through their food truck and catering company. The premise of Junk is a casual atmosphere with salvaged decor and innovative snacks to eat. Hope for an opening this Fall also.
Finally, Quinta, on Dundas West, is now closed, – but the team is holding onto the space where they’ve been serving modern takes on Portuguese rustic dishes for the past two years and opening a new venture in September. 1282 Dundas Street West will then be known as Essen, and Chef and Owner Leor Zimmerman is converting the menu into a family style Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine.
So, lots to look forward to this Fall. We’ll keep you posted as we learn more about the constant changes in our area’s vibrant restaurant scene.
We now have Greek food on Ossington! Mamakas Taverna is now open at 80 Ossington, and is serving traditional Greek food and drink 6 nights a week.
We have been anticipating this opening for many months now, and the spot has developed from the imagined bakery cafe into a full fledged restaurant and bar serving very tasty food.
80 Ossington, formerly occupied by high-end furniture and design store Ministry of the Interior, and empty for 3 years, is well-lit and lovingly furnished. It has the feel of a clean restaurant on a Greek island with plenty of light and an open, inviting feeling. There are places to stand alongside the open kitchen in the front of the space, a central bar that extends out into a communal table, and several tables in the back.
Here’s what the place looked like last night as locals and others came to check out the just-open entry to the Ossington restaurant scene.
Thanos, the owner, is passionate about finding quality Greek food, and one of the specials last night was a heirloom tomato and Feta board with extra virgin olive oil. He told us this is the best feta in the world and it tasted like it!
We moved from there onto Kalamakia, which is Ontario Lamb, fresh baked pita, tzatziki, mint, and a garnish of cherry tomatoes.
We also indulged in Glykadia, which is sweetbreads sauteed with a white wine and dill sauce.
We also checked out the Kalamari, which was a generous portion, looking perfectly cooked:
There was also a shrimp saganaki – a combination of grilled shrimp, fresh tomato sauce and Donodis feta.
Desserts, which we didn’t try, looked great! The special dessert - yogurt brullé – looked very inviting:
This week, the annual Summerworks festival converges on our neighborhood. The juried performance festival runs from August 7-17, and almost all of the events are very close to Ossington.
The main hub of this year’s festival is the new Theatre Centre, recently relocated from The Great Hall building at Queen and Dovercourt a few blocks west to the former library at 1115 Queen St. West. This is a slight shift from the last few years when Lower Ossington Theatre hosted the bar and lounge.
There are also local shows at Artscape Youngplace and Trinity Bellwoods Park – including a free music event centred around Garrison Creek called Zong! Meets Garrison next Sunday night from 6p-10p. Guests are invited to participate, wear white and bring blankets.
Summerworks offers an eclectic and diverse range of music, theatre, dance and art, and tickets are $15 or less. Enjoy! Summer only comes once a year, as does Summerworks.
We’re losing art galleries on the street. Established art gallery AWOL Gallery, is closing up at 78 Ossington, and Oz Studios also closed at 134 Ossington this spring.
AWOL just finished its last show, after 15 years on Ossington, and they don’t know where they are going next. We guess that rising rent is why they are leaving: check out the official facebook post for more information. AWOL had many many interesting exhibits over the years, and the owners and artists were always friendly and welcoming. They also hosted some fun pop-ups, sales and more. One of our favorite AWOL events was the Annual Square Foot Sale - every piece of art for sale was one square foot and priced at $225, featuring a wide variety of artist from the city. It was a fun and accessible event, something AWOL has a knack for creating. We are happy we got to experience some of their shows over the years and hope they find a new place so we can continue to visit.
We don’t know what is going to be filling the voids or the spaces left by these two notable businesses on Ossington. However, we do see signs – real world signs – of a change happening at 1166 Dundas West. Formerly home to a clothing store named Linalgo – here’s the google maps photo:
This large retail space is being converted into a restaurant or bar – the sign on the window a liquor license application for a venture called “The Contender.”
Is it a sports bar with a focus on boxing? Let us know if you are involved with or have any information about “The Contender”.
Early Canada Day celebrations, World Cup watching, restaurant renos and condo growth: All that and more happened this weekend on Ossington, and we took some photos. How are you spending your long weekend?
The next in the series of elections for our neighbourhood, the Trinity-Spadina By-Election, takes place June 30th. If you didn’t vote early, head out on Monday and have your say.
The federal Trinity Spadina seat is being contested to fill the empty seat left by Olivia Chow, who resigned to run for Mayor of Toronto in the Oct 27th election. With no incumbent to vote for, this opens up a new set of candidates to run in this riding.
There have already beencontroversiesin this election, ranging from sign stealing and party infighting. There was also a local debate which aired on Rogers TV; unfortunately, unless you are a Rogers customer, you’re not privileged enough to watch or listen to this debate.
There are six candidates running to be the Trinity Spadina MP and we encourage you to read up on all of them and pick the one you feels represents you and this neighbourhood. Below is a list of the candidates and links to their websites where available.
Joe Cressy is running as the New Democrat candidate. He is in the incumbency party and has strong ties to the neighbourhood. He comes from a political family, and is close friends with city councillor Mike Layton. His website is here.
Adam Vaughan is running for the Liberal Party of Canada. Adam was a city councilor in Ward 20, an area that covers downtown Toronto. Meet Adam on his page here.
Running for the Green Party, which seems to be running a strong campaign in the riding, is Camille Labchuk.
We just stopped in and met the staff, who were all very friendly, took some photos and tried some of the menu items. The dumplings were delicious and the beers were from Creemore and Granville Island and only $4!!
As we said, it’s a soft opening so expect more offerings in the days and weeks ahead. The plan is to officially launch next Tuesday, June 24th. So “stop” in and say hi and try some of their offerings!
Summerlicious reservations just opened, and this annual event, founded when SARS stopped people from visiting Toronto, is still going strong. Participating restaurants will serve prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus from July 4- 20, 2014, and some of those restaurants are in our area.
Quinta, located at 1282 Dundas Street West, serves modern Portuguese food along with craft beer, wine and cocktails in a large and comfortable setting. Open for 2 years, they’ve carved a space with inventive dishes and regular specials like Southern Sundays and Date Night, but we’re still guessing some of you have not been there. Here’s your chance! Their Summerlicious dinner menu is $25 and offers some good choices: Steak frites or their awesome Piri Piri Chicken are the meat choices for the main, and the vegan option is a Falafel plate.
Rock Lobster at 110 Ossington is also participating this year, so seafood lovers can get dinner for a deal. This friendly and fun dining spot usually offers some pretty good deals – the Sunday night Lobster Roll dinner is a bargain – and they are offering $25 prix fixe dinner this July. You can have lobster in your app and main, or go for the steak or fried chicken and waffles. Sounds filling.
The other local spot offering a prix fixe $15 lunch and $25 dinner is Portuguese restaurant First Choice Restaurant at 1116 Dundas St West, just east of Ossington. We have not tried this restaurant yet and now we are compelled to do so! We’ll choose from feature Portuguese staples like sardines and cod (lunch) and Caldo Verde soup (dinner).
Have a good meal, and definitely don’t forget dessert!
World Pride is in Toronto this year and people are coming from all over to celebrate and attend parades and parties on Church Street. There are lots of events happening in Ossington Village also! Pride officially runs June 20-28, but there are some affiliated events beginning as early as tonight.
That’s right, get over to The Ossington on Wednesday, June 18 for a special edition of the storytelling show “Tales of Toronto” - Tales of Pride! It starts at 8PM and is pay-what-you-can.
One big event this weekend is a new city-wide all night art party called Nuit Rose, on Saturday, June 21st. Called a queer focused contemporary art event, there are exhibits on Church Street, plus there is a West Queen West brach. That hub is at The Gladstone Hotel and other local spots include Artscape Youngplace, The Theatre Centre and MOCCA. This one-night extravaganza celebrating World Pride features photography. painting and sculpture exhibits and installations and performances and runs from 7PM Saturday night through until 3AM Sunday morning.
Another happening this weekend that’s a little outside the box but still tying itself to Pride is Unleashed in The City’s Pup Pride Event in the Dogbowl at Trinity Bellwoods Park. This Sunday, June 22 at 1pm, bring your pups to the park for races, goody bags and conversation. It’s an open event, so if you have a dog and are in the area, head over and say hi!
Next week, The Garrison is hosting three nights of Pride parties. Stiff Cocks kicks off the weekend on Thursday, June 26th with several DJs and a fundraiser for the Friends for Life Bike Rally. On Friday night, the club becomes Electric Circus with more DJs and lots of dancing. Finally, the Saturday night event is Hotnuts World Pride. All events go late – The Garrison has extended hours until 4am for Pride.
Know of any local Pride events we may have missed? Please share in the comments or via our Facebook or Twitter and have fun out there!