Go ask Alice
Sadly, it looks like plucky Alice's Restaurant (856 College, at Concord, 416-534-7500) won't be getting its patio together this season. Owner/chef John Pekka Woods says plans for the cloistered 70-seat backyard atrium are in place, but the necessary permits aren't expected till later this fall. Not that Pekka's worried. Since his first review in NOW six weeks ago, business has gone through the roof, so much so that Alice's no longer does weekday lunch.
"Now I get to sleep in till 9 in the morning!" laughs the affable Woods.
Grace under pressure
Last December's sudden shuttering of College Street hot spot Xacutti sent Hogtown's glitterati into a tailspin. The bold-face set will be glad to know that previous owner Leslie Gibson has returned from Hell Ay to launch Grace (503 College, at Palmerston, 416-944-8884) in their former celebrity stomping ground.
Ex-Susur sous Dustin Gallagher heads the kitchen with a menu described as "modern farmhouse," and, yes, there will be weekend brunch.
But if you really want to hang with the A-list, make sure to book a table in Grace's private 20-seat courtyard inner sanctum far from the prying eyes of the annoying hoi polloi and paparazzi.
As if Cory Vitiello's Harbord Room (89 Harbord, at Spadina, 416-962-8989) weren't already next to impossible to get into, watch the joint go ballistic when its 35-seat backyard grotto opens later this summer. Vitiello and crew promise a separate late-night comfort food patio card once construction is complete.