After a six-year run, Mark Cutrara has unexpectedly closed Cowbell. He broke the news over the weekend on his Twitter account.
"It was time to go," says the ground-breaking Parkdale resto's owner/chef. "I didn't have any more money to put into the business, and it was just dragging and dragging."
Blame the ongoing recession and a public that prefers cheap tacos to snout-to-tail tourtière. Still, Cutrara wouldn't have changed a thing.
"I'm very proud of what we did in those six years. I think we really changed the way Toronto thinks about food."
Named in honour of notorious curmudgeon Christopher Hitchens, Hitch (1214 Queen East, at Leslie, 647-352-7781, twitter.com/hitchlimited) has quietly hatched in the old Tomi-kro. Doug Tiller (the original Morning Glory, Mercury Espresso) is behind the 40-seat tapas lounge. Expect an official launch March 2.
Over in Kensington, the Nu Bügel Bakery (240 Augusta, at Nassau, 647-748-4488, nubugel.com) has finally opened, the draw chewy Montreal-style bagels baked in a wood-burning oven. But what's with the name?
"Nu as in new concept and Bügel with the umlaut as in the region of old Germany where the bagel was invented," says head Bügel boy and ex-Kalendar manager Roberto Iglicki.
Across the street, the Burgernator (269 Augusta, at Nassau, 647-748-0990, theburgernator.com) has set up shop in the old Big Chubby's space. The new joint also comes with a manifesto, to wit "to rid the city of half-hearted and overcooked burgers, processed cheese and questionable toppings." Sounds like fighting words, Burger's Priest!
Got some insider dish to share?