Open 'n' shut
NOW's favourite Saigon submarine sandwich shop, Co Yen , has called it a day. Those still feeling a yen for the cheapest meal deal in town can check out neighbouring Cali Banh Mi & Che (318 Spadina, at Dundas West, 416-599-8948), the best of the vicinity's 37 remaining Vietnamese takeaways.
Down on Queen West, venerated Vavoom has expired and been replaced by a similarly themed lounge-cum-resto called Opal (472 Queen West).
Dinah in the Cupboard
And after a successful 10-year run, Dinah Koo has pulled the plug on her pan-Asian noodle house, Tiger Lily's . The space now houses Saigon Queen (257 Queen West, at Duncan, 647-439-8533), a Vietnamese soup kitchen. "I've temporarily gone on sabbatical from the restaurant biz," laughs Koo, who intends to focus on her hugely successful foodie boutique, Dinah's Cupboard, on Cumberland and her catering business for the time being.
"When Tiger Lily's closed, I announced we were moving uptown, but I haven't really found the right place or the right idea for the new place."
East just west
Thai Hua of Spring Rolls has certainly found the right location - just down the street from Tiger Lily's in the old Beverley Tavern (250 Queen West). His company, which already operates three very lucrative Asian eateries in the downtown core, has poured a bundle into the former punk rock watering hole to transform it into East , an elegant supper club serving Southeast Asian hawker-style street food. "Just opening another Spring Rolls would be boring," explains Hua, who expects to launch the new two-storey lounge in the next few weeks. "We may fall flat on our face, but at least we're trying."
Jamie Kennedy 's January 31 Cooking Up Relief benefit for Sleeping Children Around the World to aid Sri Lankan tsunami victims sold out within 24 hours of its announcement. Kennedy and nine other chefs - George's Lorenzo Loseto , George Brown's John Higgins , Hiro Yoshida of Hiro Sushi, Hopper Hut's Ragavan Thurairatnan , Mildred Pierce's Segar Kulasegarampillai , North 44's Mark McEwan , Osgoode Hall's Yasser Qahawish , Scaramouche's Keith Froggett and Starfish shucker Patrick McMurray - acknowledge the considerable impact the disaster has had on local Sri Lankans in the restaurant industry, many of whom work invisibly behind the scenes.