Despite rave reviews and serious internet buzz, Francisco Alejandri has shuttered his tiny Agave y Aguacate in Kensington Market.
"I wasn't very happy with the place," says the former Torito, Jamie Kennedy and Scaramouche kitchen vet of the low-rent latino food court at 214 Augusta that was Agave's home. "It was very disorganized."
And not terribly busy. Sure, on Pedestrian Sundays, the joint was swamped, perhaps too swamped. Because Alejandri made almost everything to order, lineups were the rule rather than the exception. But most other times - like sub-arctic Tuesdays in February - the place was dead.
"I just wasn't making any money," says Alejandri. "People would tell me how much they loved my food and say that once I got my own restaurant, they'd eat there every day. But they stayed away because there weren't any tables. Some days, I didn't have a single customer."
You'd think a massively hyped visit by TV food guru Anthony Bourdain just a month ago would be a needed shot in the arm but that wasn't the case.
"I thought we were going to be very busy that weekend so I made all this extra food," sighs the fedora'd chef. "And then nobody showed up."
He also put in a couple of weekends at Harbourfront but that didn't quite work out as planned.
"I spent a $1,000 and took in $175."
Hopefully, his next gig at the upcoming Awestruck food truck fest on Sunday September 9 at the Brickworks will prove more successful.
"The organizers tell me they're expecting between 1700 to 2000 people," says Alejandri who'll be serving his signature shrimp aguachile, ceviche tostadas and lime Charlotte on the day.
He still intends to open a proper sit-down restaurant but will only say that the new Agave will be "simple and unpretentious like my food."
"Er, no. I'm a trained chef. I do things a little differently."