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Sep 12, 2008 08:55 AM

Bayview (Leaside) News

A few notes for this shopping strip:

New Bakery:
There is another bakery, which brings the number to five along this block. The Happy Grain Organic Bakery is now open on the east side, just north of Millwood. The place looked and smelled good, but I only had room to try one thing. The cheese Danish was unconventional and looked tempting. It was definitely worth eating. The pastry was nicely done and quite buttery. The filling was cream cheese with a hint of orange and a scatter of poppy seeds. It was not overly sweet, which is a big plus for me. One flaw left it short of real excellence - it was a bit dry, which was incongruous given the strong butter taste.

There were fresh, hot bagels on the chute at Bagel House at about 10:00 AM today (Friday). I wasn't able to pin down any answers about regular baking times at this location or on Avenue Rd, but this provides at least a frame of reference for those who have been wondering. They smelled great. Unfortunately, I was too full to sample one at that moment.

Nunzio's closing:
Nunzio was once the manager of this former Bruno's location and took it over from Bruno (who, I believe, is his uncle) some years ago. Although never as good as Bruno's, with Nunzio himself being a big part of the problem, it was a handy neighbourhood resource. They are closing imminently ("as soon as we get rid of what's still here"). There is a sign on the marquee outside offering big discounts, but most of the remaining stock is being sold at the full price. No word on what, if anything, will be replacing it. Bayview landlords seem to be driving stores away with big rent hikes.

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  1. I just returned from Bayview and happily scarfed down a warm sesame seed Bagel House bagel. I'm a regular at this location and from what I've observed (having never actually asked), there are no fixed times - they generally seem to bake through the morning and at least the early afternoon but the type of bagel at any given hour depends on what's selling out. I trust that your fullness has since subsided so you were able to at least enjoy an "hour or two" old fresh bagel, if not a warm one. Yum...

    1. Thanks for the update, embee. Why in the world that strip would need another bakery is beyond me. But I am a sucker for good bread, so I will check it out. The local residents have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to breads and pastries. Now they just need some better quality restaurants. Just about every restaurant I've eaten at along there has fallen into the "meh" category.

      2 Replies
      1. re: TorontoJo

        I completely agree TorontoJo. I can find almost everything else on either Bayview or Mount Pleasant or Laird and the area has its share of gems (Celestin, gelato places, alex cheese, bagel house, olde york, among a few) but I'm annoyed that I often have to go far for a good meal.

        1. re: ctl98

          i'd add the granite brewery and cambalache to your list of decent places.

      2. Embee, I have to disagree with you about the new bakery. I have tried 2 types of scones as well as the molasses cookies and found all items tasteless and floury. I would stay away from their goods when Rahier, Epi, even Cobbs are nearby.

        4 Replies
        1. re: foodmaven

          The danish while not wonderful, was worth eating. I tried just this one thing. The posting was more for information purposes.

          1. re: embee

            Wow, that's a real shocker about Nunzio's!!!

            1. re: millygirl

              They stopped making real efforts a while ago, and when you have Cumbrae's, Cobb, Rahier and La Cigogne, amongst others, on your doorstep, along with overpriced everything else... it just isn't a good combination. Cornichons that you couldn't get at a regular grocery store but which you can now buy at Dominion were 2x the price! It felt less like 'little store trying to compete with big giant' than 'little store ripping people off because they thought they could'.... The only thing we'll miss is the convenience of it...

              1. re: kawarthagirl

                Yes, I will miss the convenience a lot. There is no store of this type anywhere around Leslieville and Nunzio's was the closest option with relatively easy parking (plus proximity to Cumbrae's, Bagel House, Hollywood, Epi, and Rahier). The only other option is Sun Valley, which has also let things slide, is also expensive, and is a parking nightmare..

                Nunzio was truly his own worst enemy. He got Dinah Koo to provide the fresh takeout, and she backed off almost immediately. Then he got Andy Shay, who tried for a short time and disappeared. He was so difficult to work for that young employees would sometimes be driven to tears (though women of a certain age with a European background seemed able to tell him where to go).

                I stopped buying their own label when dishes stating they contained "chicken breast" or "white meat" were 100% leg and thigh, and mainly bone, and Nunzio claimed ignorance. However, the quality of their fresh meats went way up after Cumbrae's opened and they were not necessarily overpriced across the board. For example, one condiment I especially like has long been $7.95 at Loblaw's and $4.95 at Nunzio's.

        2. I hope a high-end or at least decent supermarket takes over that spot. It was convenient and parking is relatively pain-free.

          1. I could never figure out why Nunzio charged 7.49 for a box of all-bran cereal. There is a valu-mart right down the street which charges $3 less.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cupcakez

              I know!!!!!!!! It's crazy... Now, that Valumart used to be downright gross in its early days but it is much improved... But Bayview is a weird place. It would seem that there is a theory there about about oversaturation. 4 bread places on 1 block... two sushi restaurants right next door to each other... it's always an adventure when we visit my Mom and place bets as to the possible longevity of any given new business.