Toronto bars and restaurants lost to COVID are reappearing in new forms

The spaces that housed beloved spots Cadillac Lounge, The Red Light and Gandhi are back with new owners and twists


COVID-19 has not been easy on Toronto bars and restaurants. Even with stage 3 allowing them to reopen at reduced capacity, both inside and out, many will not make it to the other side of the pandemic.

But, despite everything, there are still new places opening in the city. They’re even being resurrected at a few beloved spots that closed in recent months.

The Caddi

The saga of the Cadillac Lounge has been going on for years now. After finally closing last summer, the long-tenured Parkdale bar and music venue on Queen West is now being discussed as the site of a possible future hotel.

In the midst of all this, the folks behind Paris Paris (and also Superpoint and Favorites) have saved what was the Cadillac Lounge’s most alluring aspect (other than the retro car on the sign): the beautiful back patio.

Now rechristened the Caddi (1296 Queen West), the outdoor social distance-friendly restaurant is a spot for beers, backyard BBQ and basketball. There are also pop-up dinners from guests like the (also closed) BB’s Diner and an upcoming one from Flora’s Deli.

Nothing Fancy

The Red Light was another COVID casualty, closing after an 11-year run on Dundas West. One of the first trendy watering holes on the stretch west of Ossington, it was also host to regular DJs and the first-ever performance by local jazz/hip-hop/lounge stalwarts BadBadNotGood.

That space at 1185 Dundas West is now Nothing Fancy. The bar is what its name says, a no-frills spot to grab a decent beer and some chips. It’s also still a place to catch some stage 3 live entertainment. The small back patio is now home to a series of Wednesday Night comedy shows called The Nothing Fancy Show. Seats are very limited, so you’ll want to reserve in advance via Instagram DM.

Roti Mahal

Pioneering Toronto roti shop Gandhi closed up shop in June, ending a 25-year run as one of the city’s local favourites. But roti is back at 554 Queen West, with Roti Mahal serving up North Indian roti from chefs Gigi Jacob & Prodip Das that carries on Gandhi’s delicious South Asian tradition.

You can check out the full menu from the new roti spot, which had its grand opening on August 14, here.

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