Call Joe Pantalone! Open Salt Wine Bar

Joe Pantalone

Last night I went for a walk along Ossington and ran into William Tavares, one of the owners behind Salt Wine Bar. The beautifully decorated restaurant was sitting empty, wine shelves cleared out, and no customers. All because Joe Pantalone imposed a moratorium on new restaurants on Ossington, and Salt didn’t file before the deadline.

We probably don’t need to remind you that we didn’t agree with the moratorium then, as there was no local consultation (a period where Salt owners could have decided whether they wanted to go forward or not) and the resulting legislation was poor and misguided. We cannot support anything to do with his mayorship now – as we fear less community involvement, as Joe likes to do things solo.

Joe was quoted in the Star as saying “I have no problem with people finding loopholes, if they’re good people,” but as Sheryl Kirby points out in TasteTO, “Given the crap Pantalone threw at J.P. Challet, who worked within the law to open his bistro on Harbord, this sort of reads that, if you’re friends with Joey Pants, breaking the rules is okay. Not cool.”

We like the vitality that the neighbourhood has with new cuisine entering the area. We’ve eaten at Salt while they opened semi-legally using a catering licence, and it’s excellent. It’s just what the neighbourhood needs – modern Portuguese tapas, combining the cuisines of many of our neighbours with the modern styles of places like Union and Foxley Bistro.

The reason that Salt can’t open is that the city will not issue them a restaurant license, and thus, without that license they can’t get the liquor license. It has nothing to do with the AGCO – it’s purely a city decision, and one that was made law by our mayoral candidate. Interestingly, a few other places have been granted food licenses, including Crafted and Crepes and More. Although neither has a need for liquor licenses at this point, the city granted licenses despite the moratorium.

Joe will not be getting our vote for mayor, but he might be wanting yours. And we want Salt Wine Bar to open. We’re already craving some of the nice cured hams we had!

Here’s his office number: 416-392-4009 and the email is

His campaign office number is: (416) 534-2611

Call him and let him know that politicians should let entrepreneurs build their businesses, and let local enforcement do their job. And that Salt Wine Bar should open! He can make that happen.


  1. Breaking the rules will not gain you sympathy and in fact will make it harder for them to get an actual licence. Even if the city lifted the moratorium the AGCO may say they will not grant the licence because Salt illegally served liquor in the past which is a valid reason not to grant someone a licence (everyone in the inductry knows you cannot use a catering licence to serve liquor in your own restaurant, so calling it “semi-legal” is a lie).

    They should have done what JP did and took the fight to the media and the people.

  2. JP is still not open. And I think if you break the rules, you should be open about breaking the rules. It wasn’t like they were sneaking around while doing that. They told people they didn’t have a license, somewhat to bring attention to the issue. Isn’t the question why don’t they have a license now? Just because they got caught on the wrong side of Joe Pantalone’s sneaky endeavor to shut down the street.

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