Hip 'hopper A couple of blocks east.
A couple of blocks east of Little Italy, Grasshopper (310 College, at Robert, 647-340-3666, grasshopperrestaurant.ca, @grasshopperrest) quietly opened its doors three weeks ago. Despite its regulation filament bulb ‘n’ barnboard decor, the cozy café’s all-veggie lineup is right on trend, especially co-owner/chef Roy Qian’s faux takes on multiculti comfort food like vegan pulled-pork banh mi and gluten-free quinoa macaroni and ersatz cheese.
Toronto’s obsession with Japanese noodle houses continues apace with the upcoming launch of the seventh Kenzo Ramen (kenzoramen.ca) in the one-time Murray’s Sandwich Emporium at 671 Queen West and Bathurst. Not to be outdone, rival Kinton Ramen (kintonramen.com, @KintonRamen) is about to sign the lease on a Queen West storefront closer to Spadina and super-hot Banh Mi Boys and the Burger’s Priest. The Kinton crew also softly open their new Yakitori Kintori (yakitorikintori.com, @yakitorikintori) upstairs over their ramenya at Bloor West and Manning on Tuesday, March 4.
A little further west, Lipstick and Dynamite has finally opened after a lengthy renovation in the former T.A.N. Coffee at 992 Queen West and Ossington. An eclectic card geared toward both herbivores and carnivores will kick in once the chef gets back from vacation next week.
A favourite of chefs both professional and dilettante, the Cookbook Store (850 Yonge, at Yorkville, 416-920-2665, cook-book.com, @cookbookshop) is throwing in the tea towel after a 31-year run, another victim of downtown’s relentless condofication. Owner Josh Josephson had hoped to relocate elsewhere but failed to secure suitable real estate. A final 25-per-cent-off-everything sale is under way.