Open/Closed: Toronto Restaurant News September 5-11, 2019

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You’d think with summer holidays coming to an end, and the resulting bustle of kids back to school and folks returning to work, it would be slow.

Ha! I’ve got an astonishing 18 new establishments this week, two of which are already causing a stir, and a whole lotta news you don’t want to miss.

Here’s the very latest:

Awai’s Avelo (51 St Nicholas St.) celebrates their soft opening this week with a “pay what you want system,” instead of regular pricing for 5- and 8-course plant-based tasting menus.

Beaches Brewing Company (1953 Queen St. E.) softly opened yesterday. The brewery restaurant, equipped with an on-site craft beer shop, opens at 5:30pm, with tickets required for beer-paired dinners ($62.15) until Saturday.

Also newly arrived in The Beach (not far from BBC above): Blue Cloud Café (1934 Queen St. E.), with a range of healthy food options, meals to go, and ethically-sourced coffee. 

Canada’s first Chick-fil-A (1 Bloor St. E.) opens Friday at 10:30am. Menu items include: their famous chicken sandwich (chicken breast dipped in milk-and-egg wash, hand-breaded, pressure cooked in fully refined peanut oil, served on a toasted, buttered bun), chicken biscuit waffle, and potato fries. However, many don’t support the chain due to CEO Dan Cathy’s stance on gay marriage and the company donating to anti-gay causes: #BoycottChickFilA is gaining strength and a protest is already scheduled.

Authentic Italian bakery Forno Cultura has moved into new digs at Queen and Dovercourt (1056 Queen St. W.), their fifth outpost to date. 

Hello 123 - sister resto to wheatless and meatless chain Kupfert and Kim – brings their plant-based fare to Vaughan’s Colossus Centre (16 Famous Ave.).

One word: Jollibee. The third GTA location (79 Billy Bishop Way, Unit C3) debuts tomorrow. To celebrate the location at Wilson Station, they’re awarding 'One Year of Joy,' (a year's supply of Jolly Crispy Chicken, to the first 25 people who make a purchase of $25 or more); Jollibee Funko Pop! figures (to the first 50 customers holding unique banners or posters that read, "#ItsOurTurn"), and a Jollibee collectible to the first 300 customers who make a purchase of $25 or more.  

Kung Fu Tea (633 Bloor St. W.) continues its expansion, this time in The Annex.

Rosedale isn’t known for its influx of restaurants, so Mineral (1027 Yonge St.) landing at Yonge & Roxborough is sure to have the neighbourhood atwitter. Stop by for coffee first thing, lunch from 1130am-2pm, and dinner starting at 5:30pm.

Scarborough’s Mora Tea Bar (3700 Midland Ave., Unit 122) specializes in fruit teas, milkshakes and “handmade tapiocas.”

Coffee shop and fuel bar The Rawlioness (2745 Dundas St. W.) offers healthy, vegan, and gluten-free grab-and-go options (Salted Caramel Espresso Almond Butter Chia Pudding, Kiwi Cashew Parfait) to The Junction crowd.

Tuck into enticing fare - Earl Grey Pancakes ($13.50), Citrus Mascarpone Waffle ($13.50), Bulgogi Beef Benedict ($14.50), and Chicken Katsu Club Sando ($15), for starters - at Sisters & Co. Restaurant (887 Dundas St. W.), a new breakfast/lunch spot in Trinity Bellwoods.

Despite the menu of Cortados, Flat Whites, and Lattes, The Social Blend (130 Eglinton Ave. E.) is “not just about the coffee.”

South Indian Dosa Mahal (1262 Bloor St. W.) has been making headlines lately due to a dispute with the landlord. There’s even a public Facebook page to “Save Dosa Mahal.” In the meantime, you can visit their new eatery in Mississauga, located in the food court of South Common Centre (2150 Burnhamthorpe Rd. W.).

Doors opened Tuesday for bubble tea, soft serve, and dessert shop Sweet Shady Shack (220 Eglinton Ave. E., Unit 2) at Mount Pleasant and Eglinton.

Tru Bubble Tea (25 Carlton St.) debuted Saturday. In addition to brown sugar brûlées an and milk teas, choose to have your drink topped with cake-flavoured crèmes or housemade mozzarella foam.

Well & Better Home (2649 Yonge St.) launches their third coffee and home accessories shop Saturday at Yonge and Blythwood.

The sixth outpost of sports bar Wingporium (3490 Kingston Rd.) has got you covered for wings, pub grub, and brews in Scarborough.

CLOSED

Bier Market’s King West location (600 King St. W.) has shuttered. Esplanade, Square One, and Don Mills locations remain open.

After 13 years at Yonge and St. Clair, Cava served their final meal at Delisle Court (1560 Yonge St.) on Saturday. It’s not goodbye forever – they’re moving to the downtown core. Stay tuned.

Urban Herbivore says they were the “first plant-based restaurant in ANY MALL in North America.” Despite the current demand/frenzy for vegan fare, their eight-year run at CF Eaton Centre (220 Yonge St.) has come to an end. To visit their Kensington Market location, head to 64 Oxford St. 

EVENTS

TIFF and TIFF Festival Street kick off today.

The last Food Truck'N Friday of summer takes place at Mississauga’s Celebration Square tomorrow.

Head to Harbourfront Centre’s Veg Food Fest this weekend for a host of vegan, plant-based fare.

Taste of the Kingsway returns to Bloor Street West - Prince Edward Drive to Montgomery Road - this weekend.

Saturday’s Mattyfest is sure to be epic.

There’s always good food to be had at the Cabbagetown Festival.

NEWS 

Chinatown fixture Rol San Restaurant may not be around for much longer due to new development.

In plant-based news, Harvey’s goes with Lightlife Burger for their veggie option. 

Fried chicken is hot right now. None more than Popeye’s new Chicken Sandwich that sold out across the U.S. last week. Hoping it will make its way north of the border? The Financial Post spoke with Popeyes’ president Felipe Athayde to get the scoop.

Toronto’s finally getting a W Hotel.

Sotheby's presents the “most valuable collection of whisky” ever to be sold at auction.  

And speaking of booze, starting today, get LCBO products delivered via foodora. Choose from “a curated list of popular beer and cider, wine, spirits and ready-to-drink offerings”

ICYMI

Have you been to Ascari at King and Portland? Discover what’s on the menu at the big, new modern Italian restaurant still steeped in tradition in The Arrival.

TIFF is here! For where to spot your favourite actors and directors, get your Ultimate Stargazing Guide now.

FYI 

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Hear of a place that’s about to open or just closed? Have an upcoming food or restaurant event? Want to work with Toronto Restaurants? Send me an email. writerscramp@stephaniedickison.com

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