West-side chicken shack shuttered, Torito expands
Only a week after his Trinity-Bellwoods take-away was featured in NOW’s recent controversial meat issue, Carlos Hernandez, the former Torito chef, has closed Inigo.
“I can’t really talk about it but it wasn’t working out,” says Hernandez.
The building that once belonged to notorious bicycle thief Igor Kenk has since been sold. Hernandez also sites problems with his suppliers. The Quebec farm that provided the free-range birds that made his considerable rep pulled the plug when they decided the partnership wasn’t profitable.
“I had to use local chickens instead,” sighs Hernandez. “The quality was never the same.”
Hernandez also faults that section of the Queen West strip’s lack of foot traffic.
“What with the park across the street, this block is dead.”
No surprise there. After all, Inigo was located next door to a funeral parlour. In the meantime, Hernandez plans to keep a low profile until the spring, but has no plans to open another restaurant anytime soon.
“Let’s just say the whole experience has been a real eye-opener.”
One of the many restaurateurs who passed on buying the Inigo building at Queen and Strachan was Hernandez’s ex-boss at Torito Veronica Laudes. It’s no secret the tapas queen of Kensington has been in the market for a second location, having previously nixed the space at Dundas and Markham that’s about to become the new Susur Lee boite.
Instead, she’s turned to Parkdale, more specifically the storefront at 1690 Queen West that’s currently home to Keriwa Café. Don’t worry, Laudes bought the one-time furniture store strictly as an investment. Chef Aaron Joseph Robe Bear and company aren’t going anywhere.
“They’re very young but they know what they’re doing,” says Laudes. “I’m a big fan.”