The prime retail space on the ground floor of Abacus Lofts at 1239 Dundas West is going to be a general store/cafe called Dundas General Store. A general store and gourmet food market is much more welcome than a previous tenant: the short-lived dispensary Twisted Smoke, one of several dispensaries in the area.
The sign on the door at 1239 Dundas West, and a website, both which aim for an opening in March 2017.
Now Toronto released their annual readers’ choice lists of top businesses in Toronto, and lots of local businesses ranked high. Here’s a recap of the bars, stores, restaurants and people to be voted best by Toronto locals. Congratulations to all!
Trinity Bellwoods Park ranked as runner up for Best Park (High Park won)
Congrats to Mike Layton – runner up as Best City Councillor
Dundas West has a new snack bar. Called MoTo Coffee and Snack Bar, it’s a new business in the space formerly occupied by Porter House and Brockton General at 1321 Dundas West. That Instagram account is their online presence.
There are a lot of restaurants serving snacks around these parts, but MoTo stands out with a menu of predominantly Italian snack food, with many ingredients imported straight from Italy. The chef, Wes Hains, has experience at big name Italian restaurants in the city like Gusto and Piano Piano.
MoTo Snack Bar opened earlier this month, but we just stopped in last night. It wasn’t the best time for them; they were having a private function, so we haven’t tried the food yet. The opportunities to taste Italian snacks are pretty good, however: MoTo is open and serving food every night but Sundays starting at 6pm. In addition, they’ve got Italian wines, craft beers and coffee on offer.
The space looks great. They’ve reconfigured it so the bar is not all the way in the back of the place; it’s alongside the west wall, with some tables and chairs up front, and seating at the bar. This gives the room a more welcoming feel, and the people we met last night added to that welcome.
A couple of photos are below. Let us know if you’ve been to MoTo Snack Bar.
We have news of some more changes on Ossington: A beloved, albeit short-lived, pop-up is closing up shop, and another one is moving to more permanent digs, just around the corner.
HD Cafe To Close
The opening of the HD Cafe made news all over town and beyond at the beginning of the summer. We knew from the start this cafe at 96 Ossington was only a pop-up shop. But people fell in love with the vibe, the great coffee, and the free wifi, not to mention the vintage motorcycles. So this Saturday is the last day to enjoy all of it. Get out today or sometime this week, or you’ll have to head east to get the coffee itself at Fahrenheit Coffee.
Fitzroy Boutique Opening a Permanent Shop on Dundas West
Fashion “pop-up” Fitzroy Boutique has been located at 98 Ossington (right next to HD Cafe) for a few months. They started with cute clothes and candles, and soon branched out into renting dresses for special occasions. This great idea seems to have taken off and now the ladies behind Fitzroy are moving around the corner with a permanent space for dress rentals! 1227 Dundas Street West, 2nd floor, is the new spot for trying on a dress for that party, wedding or night on the town. It looks like it’s on the south side of the street between Ossington and Dovercourt, so they are definitely staying in the hood. Look for the new opening on October 3rd.
Summer is finally here and with it, patio season! We in Toronto love spending this warm season outside, enjoying a beverage – or two – and food. Ossington Village has a wide range of choices for you to eat and/or drink in the fresh air.
We’ve summarized all the Ossington Village patios and the highlights of each. Share your faves with us on our Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.
There are only a few tables on the front patio at Boehmer, but they offer good people watching, especially of the Bang Bang Ice Cream line. Plus, high quality food and drinks.
BQM‘s side patio at Ossington and Rolyat is a hot draw in the summer. It gets lots of sun and is open for both lunch and dinner and offers great people watching on the strip.
Crafted by Te Aro
The backyard at Crafted allows you to enjoy your coffee in a quiet garden. It’s not a big space, but it rarely seems to fill up. If you can’t get a seat out back, the front is also nice when the big garage doors are open. You’ll still get some fresh air with your coffee and snack!
Churchill, at Dundas West and Lakeview, has a nice side patio that fills up early. You can have some cocktails and bao while listening to DJs spin, but the party does have to end at a reasonable hour. They close the patio well before last call to keep from bothering the residents with noise.
The fenced off back patio at Tom Thai’s South Asian bistro is a lovely oasis in the summertime. The fusion food is among the best in the city too. Foxley does not take reservations, so expect a bit of a wait, but they’ll call you when your table is ready, so you can explore more of the neighborhood and even enjoy a beverage.
Rua Vang Golden Turtle is probably the winner in the Ossington pho wars for the patio alone. The side space, on Argyle Street, fills up all summer long with diners enjoying the cheap pho, and other Vietnamese specialties, along with some cold beverages.
Ideal Coffee/ Bobbie Sue’s Mac & Cheese
The side patio at Ideal, on the corner of Ossington and Foxley, is a popular spot in the summer months. During the day, enjoy the company of locals over a coffee and pastry, and in the evening, join others enjoying their Bobbie Sue’s comfort food al fresco on the next door patio.
Over on Dovercourt, Julie’s Cuban has been packing their front garden for decades. Make a reservation and have a romantic date over Cuban cocktails and tapas.
Popular all year round and at all hours, The Lakeview has a prime patio on Dundas West. If you don’t mind the traffic and the lines of people waiting for a table during weekend brunch, you’ll enjoy the wide menu selection and people watching.
It’s just a few seats out front, but you can technically say Opera Bob’s has a patio. If you aren’t watching the Jays or English football, watch the Dundas West locals with a beer in your hand.
The back patio at Reposado has lots of seating and you can get friendly with others while enjoying a wide selection of tequilas and tapas. Look for special pop-up barbecues on summer weekends.
Sweaty Betty’s, an Ossington institution – it’s been open for almost 12 years – has a great patio tucked in the back. Bring your friends, order some cheap drinks, and spend some time enjoying the night air and the antics of the dive bar’s many customers.
Not only can you get a top quality meal at Union, including weekend brunch, the backyard is a lovely oasis for your feast!
So Rashers just installed seats out front. If you choose, eat your bacon sandwich on Ossington.
We also have to mention two local favourites whose patios are in limbo.
The Crooked Star has been closed since December. We have seen some work going on inside, but don’t know when the renovated space will be open. That side patio is a popular one on summer nights and weekends, so here’s hoping it will be operational soon.
The Red Light is another story, one which we are still investigating. This hip bar with friendly staff serves craft beer and a great selection of whiskey, especially bourbon. The back patio was a really fun place on Dundas West until it was unceremoniously shut down 3 years ago. It costs a lot of money to get approvals to reopen. Stay tuned for more details from us and let’s all hope the patio can reopen soon.
None of these places are secret, so definitely plan ahead or arrive early to ensure a good seat. Have a great summer and let us know your favorite local spot to hang outside!
A Harley Davidson Cafe is opening on Ossington tomorrow, June 17. They’ve taken over the space under the Lower Ossington Theatre, at 96 Ossington. It is now filled with motorcycles and signage for Harley Davidson Cafes.
A quick google search for this name in Toronto brings up a placeholder for “1903: A Harley Davidson Cafe.” 1903 is the year Harley Davidson was founded, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
There’s a Harley Davidson Cafe in Vegas, which is similar to a Hard Rock Cafe, only with motorcycles as decor. In this case, their twitter account presents as a coffee shop than a burger joint. They plan to be open 7 days a week starting at 7am and will be serving all the typical cafe fare. The idea is for customers to have an espresso while admiring the assortment of bikes on display. UPDATE: the coffee is from Toronto’s Fahrenheit Coffee.
Here’s a shot from their twitter account:
And a photo of the exterior:
With Town Moto just up the street, maybe some of those motorcycle aficionados will check out the space for the coffee and conversation. UPDATE: We stopped in a took more photos so make sure you’re following our Facebook.
You thought Ossington already had all the food you need? Think again! Rashers, newly opened at 182 Ossington, reminds us that we didn’t have nearly enough bacon sandwiches. Problem solved.
If you love bacon, you probably already know about Rashers. If not, let me explain:
Rashers has been open on the east end of Toronto for about 4 years, and east enders have been enjoying their bacon sandwiches all this time. Well, now it’s our turn! And thanks to Rashers, we have so many choices! Peameal, strip bacon, with maple or smoke or neither, plus extras including egg, cheeses, veggies, condiments. The first time I walked in I just marvelled at the menu selections because every choice looks so good.
The ordering process is similar to La Cubana down the street, you order and pay at the counter and pick up your food when it’s ready. There are a few cozy booths and some window seats for the dine-in option. The turn-around is pretty quick, but you won’t mind waiting either, because there is a very detailed and fun wall mural with a lot of Toronto icons enjoying bacon which will entertain you and your friends. Today was a gorgeous day, so a lot of people were ordering to go. This adds to your list of options for park picnics this summer!
Once they ramp up at the new location, you’ll probably be able to order Rashers for delivery downtown. And we all know, bacon travels very well.
Rashers is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Today, while sampling sandwiches, I ran into a lot of locals, all of whom are very excited for this new addition to Ossington! Lots of photos of the offerings and the space below:
Rashers Brie and Bacon with curly fries
Rashers Apple & Maple Grilled Cheese
Rashers Hogtown Peameal bacon with egg and cheese
A small segment of the wall mural – the Ossington part 🙂
There are a lot of changes happening on Ossington including new buildings and businesses, so we did a walk around and took some photos to highlight some of the most recent ones on the street.
The small location at 104 Ossington just north of Lower Ossington Theatre most recently housed a onesie shop called Kigurumi, has also been a record store and a vintage shop, and will soon be home to a tattoo parlour called Bellwoods Tattoo.
Baby Hueys is now gone from 72 Ossington, and the space appears to be renovating into a new storefront. Next door there’s a logo for TA2, a recording studio with headquarters on the east end, and may be expanding to Ossington.
Motif Lofts has been under construction for a few years and looks closer to being ready for tenants. In the next few months we may also see some new retailers on the ground floor at 41 Ossington.
At the corner of Ossington and Queen, Stussy is now closed as we anticipate the arrival of the American retailer who took over the lease:
The building at 114 Ossington, which houses Venezia Bakery, is has been undergoing a massive transformation, adding two floors above, most likely for residences.
Finally, The Crooked Star, at 202 Ossington on the corner of Roylat St, is in the midst of a transformation. We have no idea what’s going on behind closed doors, but a lot of people are hoping the renovated Crooked Star opens soon!
There are some things you can do to get behind two good causes in our neighborhood this week!
First, The Ossington is the spot to be this Saturday to support Syrian refugees to Canada. On Saturday afternoon, bring your gently used – or new- clothing to 61 Ossington to help newcomers to Canada who don’t have warm winter clothes. The event runs from 2p-6pm, there will be $4 drinks so you have incentive to stay and mingle and learn more about the cause. They have requested decent winter wear for young adults as well as new socks and underwear.