Ossington spot Manita is going on "spring break," and Momo House and Gus Tacos open new locations
As the third wave worsens, many Toronto restaurants are hunkering down trying to wait out the surging cases until the (hopeful) relief of summer.
Some, like Manita on Ossington, are choosing to close temporarily, not because of any COVID-related scares but to preemptively avoid any potential transmission as case numbers increase.
Takeout and delivery are the still the name of the game for anyone opening a restaurant and this reality is shaping the kind of eateries that are opening right now. Expect more fast food pop-ups, handheld foods like tacos and burgers and restaurants prioritizing easy takeaway meals.
Here are the Toronto restaurants that opened and closed between April 13-20.
This is only a temporary closure. The owners of this cafe, grocery and bar on Ossington decided that it would be wise to close for two weeks to give their staff some time to rest after a busy nine months after opening during the pandemic last August. On Instagram, they wrote: “Ideally we would have announced this with more notice, but with the current case counts it seems urgent to hit pause – from the perspective of both COVID exposure and mental health.” Their team is healthy and they want to keep things that way in anticipation of a “bustling summer season.” Patrons can enjoy their Nile Coffee to go, their selection of mezze plates and a new dinner menu starting May 4.
Without the regular hustle and bustle of downtown life, John and Adelaide has become a bit of a dead zone. The Pizzaiolo location on the corner is closing after 13 years in business, posting on Instagram that constant construction starting in 2019 and then the pandemic in 2020 have made it difficult to stay in business. Their last day will be April 26.
After eight years at its original location, Toronto Popcorn Company is saying goodbye to Kensington Market. They made the announcement on Instagram: “We tried to hold on to this location for as long as we can, hoping that things would turn around for the better. We gave it our best shot and tried to roll with the punches. However, we’ve come to terms that it’s time to turn this chapter in Toronto Popcorn Company’s story. It is with a heavy heart that we are closing this store’s door to the public.” Their newest location in the Beaches remains open.
After opening in Kensington Market and Bloordale, Gus has now expanded to Parkdale with a new location on Queen West. The mini-chain is only two years old and growing steadily. They do tacos nine diffeerent ways and also sell burritos, chilacas, quesadillas and more.
Mascot announced their new Etobicoke beer garden and bottle shop a month ago and the latter is now open. The beer garden is not open to the public yet, of course, but the bottle shop is stocked with lagers, IPAs, sours and more.
Chef Mike Pigot has brought a taste of Calgary to Toronto with his new burger pop-up, in partnership with Jerome Robinson (aka the Heartbreak Chef). The first drop on April 14 completely sold out. All they do is cheeseburgers – from classic to bacon to mushroom and burgers made with Impossible patties for non-meat eaters.
The second location from this local roaster and coffee shop opened across from Trinity Bellwoods in the old Sam James spot. It’s a soft opening, so the space is still a little sparse. The Dundas location has been a haunt for OCAD students for years thanks to rotating seasonal coffee collections with beans from Kenya, Colombia, Ethiopia and Guatemala.
Showing no signs of slowing down, this Tibetan restaurant with roots in Parkdale just opened its third location near Queen and Bathurst, taking over Rickshaw Bar’s old home. It’s the the second location they’ve opened in less than a year, following the Yorkville location in September.
Love Chix, a restaurant in the Wallace Emerson neighbourhood, was locked out by their landlord on April 5. They’re now serving their fried chicken and good times out of their sister restaurant, Century Park Tavern around the corner.