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Two Ossington Causes to Support Now

There are some things you can do to get behind two good causes in our neighborhood this week!

winterclothingdriveFirst, 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.

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Second, you’ve probably all seen this photo of Sam James’ Ossington coffee shop and heard that it’s going to have to close at the end of the month. Well, he’s not the only one who’s angry that the new tenant is taking over his small nook. It’s been very newsworthy and the latest news is that a Sam James Coffee fan started a petition to keep the shop open – something that Jen Agg of The Black Hoof has been actively sharing and promoting through Twitter. There is some confusion over who actually is forcing them out, new tenant Shinola or the landlord, but either way, sign the petition if you want to support keeping Sam James on Ossington.

Sam James and Stussy are moving from Queen and Ossington

20151128_113648The building at Queen and Ossington, which used to house a sewing machine shop called WorldSew only a few years ago, has changed hands. As a result, both Stussy, which opened in late 2012, and Sam James Coffee Bar, which opened in April of 2014. are leaving the neighbourhood.

We’ve heard from a few neighbours, and it’s also being reported in Now Magazine, that the building is being taken over by Shinola, a Detroit company that sells retro watches and leather goods.

Sam James unsuccessfully tried to negotiate to stay in the space after the change of hands, and posted his displeasure at the result on his instagram this week.

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While we understand change is inevitable, we’re still sad to see a positive local institution like Sam James leave our neighborhood.

Jimmy’s Coffee Brings More Joe to Ossington

There’s a new place to get your coffee fix on Ossington. Jimmy’s Coffee, a popular java spot with several locations downtown, has moved into 15 Ossington, adjacent to Sweaty Betty’s and just north of another beloved coffee shop, Sam James.

15 Ossington, which used to be home to various consignment and vintage shops, is transformed into a comfortable and spacious cafe. It’s probably the biggest of the 4 indy coffee shops on Ossington, with a large back room as well as the front room and coffee bar. Jimmy’s is now open and serving drinks and pastries.

We took some photos so check them out in case you can’t stop in this weekend.

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Local Food News

There’s been a lot of activity in the local restaurant scene these days. First, a recap on the new openings: Both The Grow Op and Omaw are now open and serving, as you can read about in our earlier posts. (Omaw even got a later write-up in the Toronto Star yesterday). Neither restaurant seems to have a website, but Grow Op is posting photos on Instagram.

We also posted this week that Jimmy’s Coffee is coming to Ossington soon, and then they tweeted us their plan is to open at the end of September:

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Mamakas, the Greek restaurant which opened last August at 80 Ossington, got a rave review from Joanne Kates, so expect more crowds for the near future and reserve ahead!

You are now able to have vegan food and craft beer for lunch as Porter House just last week added afternoon hours to their schedule from Wednesday – Monday.

Rock Lobster is participating in “Le Burger Week” – and their Surf N Turf burger has been listed as one of the 5 burgers to try by Toronto.com.

Some sad news to report is that Jewish restaurant Essen, which used to be Quinta, at 1282 Dundas West, is now closed, according to Toronto Life. They closed the doors about a week ago and are not replacing it with another restaurant.

The space where Philip Sparks had his shop is also in transition, soon to be a food venue from the team behind Hawker Bar.

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Also, shout-outs to local favorites Pizza Libretto and Reposado, who both celebrated anniversaries last month!

Please keep us posted via social media or the comments if you’ve got any more news to share!

More Caffeine for Ossington: Jimmy’s Coffee Shop Opening Soon

Jimmy’s Coffee is already an established brand in downtown Toronto, and now it’s coming to Ossington. The July closing of Silver Falls Vintage and Tusk at 15 Ossington, provided an opportunity for Jimmy’s to expand west to our happening neighborhood.

According to Jimmy’s on Twitter, they’re currently renovating the space, which is just north of Sweaty Betty’s on the east side of Ossington.

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With Sam James, I Deal and Crafted Coffee all offering us great brews, the addition of Jimmy’s may bring more people to the street or just keep more of us awake. We’ll keep you posted when it opens!

 

The Grow Op Opening This Week

The Grow Op, a new smoothie and salad bar and so much more, will be opening this week at 222 Ossington. You may remember a long line of fish markets in this space just south of Dundas, but now it’s clean, bright and ready to serve you anything from coffee to salads and sandwiches to kombucha and smoothies.

They’re doing soft opening private parties this weekend, but you should be able to stop by and try a treat this week. They’ll open around 8 or 9am each day, so you can start your day with a coffee or smoothie from The Grow Op.

So far, you can only find them on instagram. We took some photos Friday night, posted below:IMG_2567

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Dundas West Fest Back for Year 3 This Saturday, June 6

dwf2015This Saturday marks the 3rd year for the Dundas West Fest. The first two years were a big success, both for the residents and businesses in the neighbourhood, and year three looks to be at least as good!

The festival closes down Dundas from Ossington all the way west to Landsdowne, and many community groups, shops, restaurants and more will be represented. What makes the Dundas West Fest so successful is the inclusion of all the local groups and businesses for food and entertainment.

With kids’ zones, lots of music, shopping, art, and plenty of food and drink, the Dundas West Fest offers lots of opportunities for everyone to enjoy.

Some of the highlights of this year’s fest include:

  • The Garrison hosts a craft beer festival and free music stage in the Beer Store parking lot, with well-known local bands ranging from The Royal Crowns to Good Enough Live Karaoke to Choir! Choir! Choir!
  • Comedy with The Afternoon Laugh party with local comedians at the Sheridan stage, and more jokes at Full of Beans
  • Free portraits from renowned photographer George Pimental at the Alegria Stage
  • Readings by Portuguese-Canadian writers at the West Stage
  • DJs and Art at Milk Glass Co
  • Kids zones at the west end of the fest
  • Busker zones scattered throughout the festival
  • Food and drink from all the local cafes, bars and restaurants, and a new food zone at the west end near Landsdowne

There are too many events to list, so check out the facebook page  and the location map.

Take a look at some photos from last year to get a sense of the scope and scale of the festival.

Schedule below:

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La Saucisserie Opens, Offering Sausages, Beer & More

La SaucisserieLa Sauciserrie opened this week at 229 Ossington, in the old location of Yours Truly. There isn’t a lot of change to the internal decor but the premise is very different. La Sauciserrie offers a menu of sausages with various toppings and sauces priced between $6 and $9, as well as some smaller appetizer platters including fries, poutine, and even a cheese platter.

They have a fairly extensive beer list offered both in cans as well as a number of draught taps. The focus for the beers is more on European imports than local, but they do have a good selection of Ontario brews available. In addition to that they’re also offering choices like Haufbrau and Ceres. The beer came with a cup of glazed pistachios, adding a nice addition to the beer.

We took a few photos, but for better ones, check out their Facebook account.

The Sausage List (and Menu):

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The Beer List (apologies for the blur):

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Some of their beers on Tap:

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And here’s what a sausage looks like:

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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!