Today is the day. The long-awaited opening of Jamie Oliver and The King Street Food Company’s first Jamie’s Italian in North America has arrived.
Opening today at 11am, the Yorkdale Shopping Centre location is the first of "nine minimum, across all of Canada," say Nick Kypreos, Brand Ambassador for Jamie’s Italian. The next one to open? At Square One, with the goal of a 2016 opening. Kypreos says they will "open three to four in the GTA before expanding across Canada."
Jamie’s Italian first opened in Oxford, England in 2008 and has expanded worldwide with over 40 locations in places includingAustralia and Dubai.
Recipes have been created by Jamie Oliver and his friend and mentor, Gennaro Contaldo, with 80% of menu items the same for all Jamie Italian locations. Heading up the kitchen is Francesco (Frank) Venditti, previously of Mercatto, Bestellen and Bar Buca. Some items are being created exclusively for the restaurant using Oliver’s recipes, such as breads by Ace Bakery and desserts by Dufflet.
The menu is comprised of planks – cured meat and cheese boards, breads, snacks (nibbles), bruschettas, antipasti, pastas, pizzas, salads, mains, sides and desserts. Prices range for $4.95 for Funky Chips (fries) to $33.95 for 10oz Dry-Aged Rib-Eye. A kid’s menu features six items (Salmon in a Bag, Happy Chicken Lollipops) and three desserts. Gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options are also available.
House wines- white, red and rose - are Jamie’s Italian, all made from Sicilian grapes, packaged in eco-friendly cartons.
The two-level restaurant with high ceilings features a lengthy bar, pasta-making station and open kitchen. The 8,300 square ft., 240-seat space is kept warm and casual thanks to lots of reclaimed wood, leather banquettes, vintage school chairs and a rustic palette.
Jamie’s Italian will be "very walk-in friendly," says Kypreos. The restaurant, with the entrance located in the north parking lot, will begin taking reservations online and by phone starting today for December 14th and onwards.
We got a sneak peek at the brand new restaurant last night. Check out our Facebook page for more photos.