Toronto restaurants that opened and closed this week: March 30-April 6
Birria Balam serves up Tijuana-style birria tacos, Leslieville welcomes Craig's Cookies and more in this week's restaurant news
After a short two weeks, restaurant patios are closed again.
Restaurant owners took to Twitter to air grievances, highlighting the frustration with rehiring staff only to lay them off again a week later, or scrambling to order enough food and liquor for now-cancelled patio service.
More than ever, as we await the arrival of May (and the tentative return of the CafeTO patio program), independent restaurants and food businesses need support.
This week, there’s a new venture from chefs Kate Chomyshyn, Julio Guajardo and Matty Matheson, bringing more Tijuana-style birria tacos to the city; a family duo making bakkwa (Hokkien-style meat jerky) in unconventional flavours; and a new spot to grab fried chicken on West Queen West.
Read on to discover the local faves that will be sorely missed and exciting new Toronto restaurants that opened between March 30 and April 6.
Toronto restaurants that closed
The vegan pizza haven at Bloor and Christie has been closed to the public since November and this week the restaurant officially said goodbye to its space across from Christie Pits. A heartfelt Instagram goodbye, addressed to Apiecalypse’s supporters over its six years in business, reads: “We are not a building though, and we are not done. Sometime in the next couple months, late spring or early summer, we will have a new thing to share and we know, certainly, that those of you who have sent us your messages, emails and DMs over the last year will be there when we do, as you always have been, and we do not take that for granted. Thank you. Sincerely, and deeply, for everything.” Read here for the full story.
New Toronto restaurants
The Sicilian appetizer is centre stage for this online food business. The Lovers’ arancini is formed into elegant teardrop shapes and comes two ways: with ground beef ragu or prosciutto, green peas and mozzarella; or vegetarian options with spinach and mozzarella or mushrooms, green peas and mozzarella, all breaded and deep fried.
Bak Kwa Toronto
Lili Linda, a pastry chef at Oakville restaurants Hexagon and 7 Enoteca, partnered with her mother-in-law Lay Lee Yang to bring Hokkien-style meat jerky to the GTA. Using meat preservation techniques from Fujian, China they bake their jerky in small batches. So far they have two flavours available: original spicy pork jerky and lime leaf and fresh chilli beef jerky. They recommend adding the jerky to sourdough grilled cheese sandwiches or eating it with eggs and avocado for breakfast.
Birria Balam is the brainchild of chef couple Kate Chomyshyn and Julio Guajardo, dreamed up after a passionate conversation about Mexican food and birria with Matty Matheson last year. For now, their quesa birria and sauve tacos with consommé are available for pre-order for weekend pick ups at their Queen and Spadina location. It sold out last week, so be sure to get your orders in before Friday.
The fourth location of this Toronto cookie dynasty is officially open in Leslieville after being announced in January.
The latest project from chef Ken Yau is this online Asian grocery concept. He wants to encourage people “to cook, eat and share.” Pantry items, sweets and quick meal ideas like pork and chive dumplings, red Thai curry wontons, ponzu sauce and a range of seasonings are all handmade.
Munay is selling “Bolivia’s juiciest secret recipe”: salteñas, a type of baked empanadas. Owner Tania Di Blasi immigrated to Canada 19 years ago and always dreamed of introducing Canadians to a taste of Bolivia. The St. Clair West spot sells their salteñas three ways – beef, chicken and mushroom. They also serve coffee, tea and baked goods.
Street Eats Market
The Scarborough Town Centre location of this renowned food truck market just opened (and luckily it’s outdoors and COVID-permitted). They’ve got Middle Eastern, Brazilian American, Canadian, Egyptian, Cuban and Greek street food covered.
The Dirty Bird Chicken and Waffles
The well-known Toronto chicken and waffle chain just opened their first location in Mississauga. We included them on our list of best fried chicken sandwiches in the city.
There is a joint Bar Mignonette and Barbershop Patisserie pop-up this weekend. Pre-orders for the siu mai sausage rolls and salted duck egg puffs are sold out but they’re keeping orders available at both locations for walk-ins on Saturday and Sunday (first come, first served).
College and Bathurst wine bar Little Jerry is hosting a pop-up with XOLO this weekend. Pre-orders are now open for their tacos, tamales and street corn.
Tom’s Dairy Freeze walk-up window is officially open for the season. Get your stacked cones at their Queensway location from 11 am to 10 pm every day.