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Town Barber moves to new location on Dundas

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Town Barber finally has it’s own location. After moving out from the back of Lost & Found, they’ve finally found their own space and have transformed it into a full-service barber shop. Well suited to the neighborhood, beards are welcome at this “hipster barber shop.”

Stop by and get a cut or shave at 1114 Dundas West, in the site of a former failed restaurant, just east of The Lakeview and west of Opera Bob’s. They’ve got a full line of hair and beard products to chose from as well as TShirts and other branded products.

We stopped in yesterday – the team at Town Barber is very friendly, and the space looks fantastic. They just opened on Wednesday and told us that not everything is finished. We took some photos and think it already looks good. Check it out yourselves. Open daily!

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Cote de Boeuf Opens Evening Salon

cotedeboeufOssington butcher shop and fine foods purveyor Cote de Boeuf has new things in store for us in the New Year. The shop, owned by Union Chef-Owner Teo Paul and his partner brother Chasen Gillies, is staying open in the evenings Thursday through Saturday and afternoons on Sunday to serve us snacks and drinks. We stopped in last night, had a glass of wine and a few treats from the menu. You can come in and have a drink while you shop for dinner, have a snack before heading home, or have a whole meal here. Another chance to eat their delicious meats and cheeses? Happy New Year!

IMG_20150108_195741  The menu. IMG_20150108_200356

Serving snacks from behind the counter.

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The tartiflette – roasted potato with creme fraiche and bacon.

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A small selection of wines, cava and beer.

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2014 in Review: Openings and Closings on Ossington

2014Ossington continued to grow in 2014, but we also lost some favorites. We’ve always seen Ossington as a microcosm for our city’s culture, and a lot of the bigger trends happened on Ossington: the move from fine dining to snack bars; the evolution from hip and trendy arts to a more gentrified retail playground; games and comfort. And as Ossington gets busier and more expensive, Dundas West keeps growing, and our options for nightlife, dining and shopping expand. Now that 2014 is a thing of the past, we review it.  Moving forward, pledge to continue supporting our local businesses and try at least one new place in 2015, especially this cold and miserable part of 2015 when the businesses need it the most.

RETAIL

In 2014, Ossington became a much bigger destination for shoppers, extending along Queen up towards Dundas. The first addition was Victoire Boutique, an Ottawa-based women’s fashion store showcasing a lot of Canadian designers. The cute shop with friendly management opened in February 2014. Victoire is at 129A Ossington.

There’s a huge new furniture and design store on Ossington, which will do very well with all the new residents moving into all the new condos in our neighborhood. StyleGarage moved from Queen to Ossington and the space is gorgeous. StyleGarage is at 78 Ossington.

Brides-to-be and their friends have another reason to come to Ossington besides girls’ night out. LoversLand opened this fall to serve all those ready to wed. LoversLand is at 215 Ossington.

ARTS

Eclectic and always energetic Oz Studios closed down this past spring. The music, arts and every community is sad to see it happen. A host to NXNE parties, celebrity photography shows, and underground arts events, Oz Studios and it’s owner/curator Joe Fuda made Ossington a fun, hip and always friendly place to see and do something different. Oz Studios was at 134 Ossington and the space remains empty.

Another loss for the arts was the closure of AWOL Gallery in June. The art gallery, located at 78 Ossington, put on clever shows, and has not re-opened anywhere yet.

DINING AND DRINKING

In 2014, we welcomed new restaurants which filled niches we were missing, but we also lost some of Toronto’s best. We’ll start with the good news.

Mamakas Taverna, a lively upscale Greek restaurant serving authentic and delicious food, opened last August. The reviews have been strong from the startMamakas is at 80 Ossington.

Ossington got it’s newest – and maybe hottest – restaurant in November when upscale old-world Canadian spot Borealia opened. It’s been getting positive press ever since so make a reservation. Borealia is at 59 Ossington.

Delux, one of the most established restaurants on Ossington, announced they were closing last June. The French-Cuban bistro closed it’s doors, but the owners made us happy when they informed us they will be re-opening a more casual Cuban diner similar to their popular Roncesvalles spot, La Cubana. Delux is at 92 Ossington.

The Well, a new bar, enhanced the scene in April, and it’s not your typical Ossington bar. They’ve brought the board game trend to our street, and threw in fresh baked goods to complement your beer, wine, cider and more. The Well is at 121 Ossington.

In May, a new ice cream shop brought the masses to the street all summer long. The line-ups sometimes went into the street and made for some traffic jams on the east sidewalk, but the homemade ice cream, made into ice cream cookie sandwiches and more, made Bang Bang a huge success and a welcome addition. Bang Bang Ice Cream is at 93 1/2 Ossington.

Already a dining destination, the strip of Dundas near Ossington welcomed some new restaurants in 2014. The Goods, a healthy lunch option with take-out and delivery, opened on Dundas West in February 2014. They serve soups, smoothies, juices and delicious vegetarian plates of salads, wraps and more. The Goods is at 1255 Dundas West.

Snack bars are a trend in Toronto right now, and Dundas West is no different. Last June, Ossington Stop started serving cheap  drinks and tasty comforting treats like dumplings and tacos. They’re open late. Ossington Stop is at 1164 Dundas West.

Jewish food found a home on Dundas West when Portuguese flavored Quinta converted to traditional Jewish cuisine Essen. Serving hearty old-world fare for lunch, dinner and brunch, now there’s somewhere to get both traditional dishes like brisket and bagels, plus new twists such as Jewish Banh Mi. Essen is at 1282 Dundas West.

This fall, Dundas West (and hopefully all of us) got a bit healthier when Veghed opened it’s doors. The vegetarian offerings are also mostly organic and vegan, and tasty. A good way to start the year. Veghed Bar is at 1199 Dundas West.

The opportunity to enjoy a big sports event with friends and strangers – at a time when local teams are winning – got much easier when The Contender opened in October. Lots of screens, good food, and Toronto teams in contention! The Contender is at 1166 Dundas West.

Unfortunately for us all, experimental and always exceptional restaurant Yours Truly closed in September. Although the service waned in the last few months, the food was always stellar.  Yours Truly was at 229 Ossington. No word on a replacement.

After the loss of Yours Truly, we didn’t want to face the news that The Grove was closing too. But after some delicious meals – and cocktails – The Grove closed in November. after two short well-reviewed years. It will probably be replaced by a snack bar. We don’t know. The Grove was at 1214 Dundas West.

Levack Block was another local spot to close, and with its long lines and sometimes rowdy late night crowds, the loss wasn’t as deeply felt as the others. There have been many rumours about what is taking over that premier corner space, with the latest being a boutique hotel. While that is only in the planning and application stage, we’ll keep you updated. Levack Block was located at 88 Ossington

We look forward to what’s to come in 2015. For the seventh year, we’ll be blogging about what’s going on in the area, and we hope you’ll be reading and sharing with us. Happy New Year!

A Snowy Ossington: Photos

A snowy Ossington looks very nice today. Shopfronts, signs, even chained bicycles are very photo friendly in the clean fresh snow. So, we took some snapshots of some of our favorite spots looking pretty in the snow. Plus, it looks like La Cubana is getting closer to opening. Enjoy the snow while it’s clean!

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Shop Ossington This Thursday Night

600x911xholiday-shopping-night-on-ossington-2014-674x1024.jpg.pagespeed.ic.CcIX5JEf1ZA number of local retailers are participating in a fun and festive shopping night this Thursday. On December 11th, from 6P-10P, many of the local shops will stay open late and offer special deals and holiday treats. There is an event page here for more info!

The number of small retailers in our neighborhood has grown a lot in recent years, so consider Thursday an opportunity to experience this variety while you buy your loved ones some unique quality gifts they can’t get at the mall.

Shop local, make a night of it and have dinner and drinks at one of our many lauded restaurants.
Participating shops:

Stylegarage Expands to Ossington

Ossington has a new furniture and design store. Queen West home furnishings and design store Stylegarage has moved to a much larger space at 78 Ossington Avenue from their prior location at Queen and Shaw. The impressive new store covers 2 floors previously housing AWOL Gallery, their artists’ lofts, and an elevator company warehouse. There are exposed brick walls, resanded and polished flooring, with paint markings and lines in the floor where the artists worked.

This is a welcome addition to the street, and the new condo dwellers will definitely be happy to have such a convenient store for all their modern home decor needs.

We took lots of photos, but be sure to visit yourself. This weekend they are offering discounts on dining tables, and there will be more sales leading up to Christmas.

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Borealia Opens at 59 Ossington

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Ossington has a new restaurant and we predict it’s going to get busy. Borealia served it’s first dinner service last night. We were there and we sampled a lot of delicious dishes.

The space, at 59 Ossington, has been transformed into a comfortable Canadian urban lodge. Cozy soft throws and pillows abound, hip light fixtures bring a modern touch and combined with the friendly staff and inventive food make this a place we will return to again and again.

Borealia’s menu is a sharing menu, and the dishes offer an inspired new take on Canadiana. The recipes are inspired by food from the natives, with venison, pigeon pie, and devilled eggs all getting a creative new touch. An example were the Devilled Chinese Tea Eggs. These are not your grandma’s devilled eggs: they’ve got Asian spices for a tastier twist! Some of the menu items had years listed next to them, which we assumed represented era that they were created or popular.

Don’t forget dessert, either. The chocolate beignets and apple crumble further exemplified the care the kitchen takes to elevate even the simplest dishes.

We took lots of photos to inspire you to visit Borealia yourself!

A distinctive design inside:

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A nice selection of cocktails:

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A Grilled Mushroom salad with watercress sauce and hazelnut corncakes:

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Bison “Pemmican” Bresaola with wild blueberry juniper vinaigrette and house-made lardo:

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Pan Roasted Venison with wild rice crusted egg.

 

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We ordered both desserts on the menu, and we weren’t disappointed!

Chocolate beignets! with gooey, melted chocolate inside.

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A delicious apple crumble dessert with meringue topping.

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We didn’t get to try everything on the menu, but we wanted to.

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LoversLand is Now Open

Ossington now has a very pretty new shop for brides! LoversLand opened a week ago at 215 Ossington Avenue, and it’s a beautiful boutique with clothing for the wedding, honeymoon and beyond. Brides-to-be can make appointments to try on the perfect gown for their big day, as the shop sources gowns from contemporary designers and offer customizable dresses for the entire party. Gifts for the wedding party and other beautifully curated accessories are also on sale.

LoversLand is a welcome addition to Ossington, adding to the growing list of fashionable shops, and making it a great time to be a stylish modern bride.

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Now Open: Veghed Bar

veghedlogoDundas West has a new vegetarian, mostly organic and vegan, take-out spot. Veghed Bar is now open at 1199 Dundas St West, between Ossington and Grove.

This cute little spot along the same strip as The Garrison and Get Well features cooking from Ren Mercer, former chef at The Spoke Club. Offerings include soups, salads and smoothies, so if you’re looking for some fresh and healthy food, stop in and check it out yourself. It’s also GMO free!

We visited yesterday after seeing their tweets, and took photos of a lot of their offerings, which also include organic hot chocolate and sweets.

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Restaurant Changes on Dundas West

dundaswestThe restaurant scene on Dundas Street west of Ossington is ever expanding, growing and changing. Yes, sadly, we are losing the great The Grove, but we are also gaining many new restaurants, some of which are already open and some are coming very soon.

The award-winning, top of many year end lists The Grove, at 1214 Dundas West, announced via their website that they will be closing on November 15. This is certainly a disappointment as they were serving some creative and delicious food and we were finally feeling like they were settling into the neighbourhood. Make a reservation for a last chance to try the excellent food and beverage they’ve been serving there since 2012.

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Earlier this fall, the crew behind Quinta converted the menu from a nouveau Portuguese restaurant into a modern take on Jewish cuisine. The newly named Essen at 1282 Dundas West serves up brisket, schnitzel and a variety of family-style favorites in a relaxed setting. They are open for dinner and brunch.

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Mr. Flamingo is a brand new spot at 1265 Dundas West, taking over former Portuguese restaurant O Lagar (the sign is still there so don’t let it confuse you) at the corner of Dovercourt. A bright, small space with a big bar and 10 or 12 tables, Mr. Flamingo’s menu offers a mix of seafood and meat dishes. We tried a few last weekend and all of them were delicious, including the tuna with movie theatre popcorn sauce. Yum. Tasted like popcorn.

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All of Dundas is blowing up these days, with tons of restaurants opening east of us close to Bathurst, and this section of the strip is holding up nicely. We’ve still got Enoteca Sociale at 1288 Dundas W, and The Atlantic near Dufferin is getting a lot of good press. There are more to come including a southern Italian restaurant food shop called Solita – South of Little Italy – that has already redone the front of the southeast corner of Beaconsfield and Dundas.

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We’ve already discussed Han Moto, the snack spot from the team behind Oddseoul, which will be opening soon on Lakeview next to Churchill.

Also coming soon is a takeout place next to the 7-11 at Dundas and Dovercourt. Called Junked, this may be the snack spot once rumored to be taking over Levack Block on Ossington.

And, of course, we’ve just written about The Contender, our new sports bar just west of Ossington on the north side.

 

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