Mamakas team goes fast casual

Agora opening across from Trinity-Bellwoods Park this fall

Ossington Greek hot spot Mamakas has had more than one Torontonian wishing they could eat there breakfast, lunch and dinner (including yours truly). As of this fall, that dream will be gloriously real.

Mamakas restaurateur Thanos Tripi is currently hard at work completing a new takeout-only spot, Agora (921 Queen West), which will serve a varied menu of grab-and-go dishes across from Trinity-Bellwoods Park.

“I’ve just been listening to the demand of our guests, and they want our dips to take home, our house-made pita bread,” Tripi says. “They want a baklava at home or for lunch. There’s a lot of demand for catering and I just can’t do it here (at Mamakas). Instead of doing another big restaurant, something similar to Mamakas, I thought I’d just do another small offshoot of what we do here.”

Tripi was originally looking at the former location of Clafouti, located a few doors down, but the space wasn’t in the best shape. he says. When he found out his longtime friend Kealan Sullivan was thinking about shutting down her storefront, 69 Vintage, he decided to pick up where she left off: “I decided to do the ungodly thing and built a kitchen from scratch.”

When the space is ready – sometime this fall – that kitchen will be turning out items like Greek yogurt with a selection of toppings or peinirli (a flatbread with toppings, similar to pizza or lamajoun) at breakfast, plus leg of lamb and roast chicken pita sandwiches, spanakopita, tiropita, and a lineup of 15 or so rotating salads at lunch. Eventually, Tripi hopes to add pre-made items like moussaka for guests to take home.

And, of course, there will be dips, along with sweets from pastry chef Cora James (“Basically, the whole team I have here at Mamakas is working there,” Tripi adds) and a baklava-flavoured soft serve that was a big hit at Taste of Toronto this year.

“I live in the area, and I’m always at Trinity-Bellwoods Park, and there’s some excellent spots to eat — Nadege, Smoque N Bones, Terroni — but I think the area needs something like this,” Tripi says. “When I come into my own restaurant, I literally just get a horiatiki salad and a fresh baked pita, and I’m happy. There’s nothing better.” | @nataliamanzocco

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