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Solferino gone

i
idnas Oct 10, 2008 06:08 PM

I went over to Solferino this evening and it appears they've gone under. There is a "notice of distress" on the door referencing unpaid rent. Sad. The owner worked hard to make a go of it and tried a lot of different tactics to generate enough business, but I guess it wasn't enough. I'll miss them. :(

  1. philehohfish Oct 10, 2008 06:56 PM

    Well,I think if you have that much space and corresponding rent costs in that neck of the woods....you need more than ( a very good) gelato bringing in the lion's share of your revenue.

    1. Wahooty Oct 10, 2008 07:00 PM

      Oh, that makes me sad. It's not like I was a regular, but that was a nice, lazy Saturday treat: a morning shopping/grazing at SLM, peameal sandwich for a very late breakfast, and dessert from Solferino on the way back to the subway before heading home where there are dishes, vacuuming and laundry to be done. A nice little bit of self-indulgent escapism that I will miss.

      1. BokChoi Oct 10, 2008 07:47 PM

        Sigh, this is very saddening. It was the only place within walking distance to work with a good cold dessert. I actually walked passed it today, but did not notice the sign. The first hint they were in trouble should have been the addition of chili to the menu a while back to try and diversify their offerings. Sad to see it go. Wonder what will pop up in its place? Thanks for the headsup, idnas.

        1 Reply
        1. re: BokChoi
          s
          Suresh Oct 20, 2008 08:11 AM

          Actually, I don't think it had anything to do with their experimentative nature,but rather a lack of clientele in the colder months. I've tried the chili flavours many times and have loved it.

        2. pinkprimp Oct 10, 2008 11:37 PM

          Nooooooooo! It was only this week that I was contemplating heading in for a scoop...I should've done it! (Should've, would've, could've...didn't!) :-(

          1. t
            tarteaucitron Oct 11, 2008 01:06 AM

            I wasn't a regular either but was hoping to visit them, being in the area again this past week. The first evening I made it a bit past their closing time of 9pm and thought they only closed for the evening. The next day I went there again, and finally saw the notice at the door. Spent a few moments eyeing all the gelato sitting inside the counter. Sad.

            1. always_eating Oct 11, 2008 09:54 AM

              What?! I was just there last Friday night for two scoops of gelato after dinner. That is sad! I think they probably did well in the Summers when people want to eat gelato regularly (me, I have no seasonal preference), but it's the other times of the year where business probably wasn't so brisk.

              2 Replies
              1. re: always_eating
                b
                BLM Oct 11, 2008 04:36 PM

                The top ice cream establishments in Toronto, do most of them open year-round(I'm in Montreal)? In Montreal, some of the top establishments that make their own ice cream, close for the fall & winter.

                1. re: always_eating
                  i
                  idnas Oct 12, 2008 06:51 AM

                  I think the location was a big problem for them. Gelato tends to be more of a "while we're here" purchase than a destination, and most of the foot traffic past the store is patrons of the restaurants on that strip. If you're going to, or coming from, dinner it's not a good time for gelato. Most of the neighborhood foot traffic goes along the Front Street (south) side of the park instead of the Wellington (north) side, and whenever the BIA sponsors events they tend to happen on Front Street not Wellington so that's no help.

                  He tried coffee to get people in but to get to Solferino you pass a Tim Horton's in one direction and a Second Cup in the other, and the promise of organic coffee wasn't strong enough to overcome the "tried and true". I bought their coffee sometimes to be supportive but I was never crazy about it and wouldn't go out of my way to get it. Plus coffee shop hours and gelato shop hours are different and, as I pointed out to the owner a couple times, when I'm in the mood for a coffee (e.g. en route to the market Saturday morning), they were never open.

                  Maybe he'll try again at a more appropriate location but sadly I suspect he won't be able to.

                2. l
                  lily.violet Oct 12, 2008 08:23 PM

                  Oh no! That's sad. I really liked that place! Maybe they'll open up in a more successful location one day.

                  1. w
                    waydowntown Oct 14, 2008 05:31 AM

                    This is sad news. Solferino was a destination for us, and not only in the summertime. We often used to skip resto desserts so that we could stop in on the way home for a scoop or two. They will definitely be missed.

                    1. m
                      mgill Oct 17, 2008 06:51 PM

                      They were having some pretty serious management issues from about july onwards. I overheard the owner saying something about a whole bunch of his staff walking out on him towards the beginning of the summer, and it seemed to go downhill from there. A few times when I went in, the atmosphere seemed sort of tense.
                      Its too bad, they leave a bit of a void in terms of Toronto's gelato.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: mgill
                        s
                        Sandybandy Oct 19, 2008 11:47 AM

                        Sad to hear but as others were saying above, it's a tough business to hold up in such an odd location, not only that, it's so seasonal too. Sigh...nowhere else will I ever find the flavours they had!

                      2. f
                        foxymoron Oct 21, 2008 08:11 AM

                        I wish I saw this post before I went down to get a scoop. Such sad news and yes, I too stared longingly at the gelato through the window.

                        I agree they had strange hours. A few weeks ago, we walked over before 9pm and they were already closed. Boooo! I'm sad.

                        1. l
                          lbh Nov 30, 2008 03:32 PM

                          I live down the street from Solferino. We used to go a lot when it first opened, but less over the years. They raised their prices, and almost $5 seemed like a lot for a scoop of gelato.
                          We have also tried their coffee and hot chocolate, which were good, but not good enough to make it a regular coffee spot in the winter.
                          The location didn't help either. They would have done better if they were closer to the St. Lawrence market,

                          1. Chester Eleganté Nov 30, 2008 10:27 PM

                            It's sad. Plus, there was an act of vandalism a little before they closed down, wherein someone threw a brick (?) through the front glass door, and it somehow also smashed the expensive glass casing that covered the gelato.

                            I had some good memories of this place, and there were always inventive and delicious flavours abound -- sweet avocado that retained the texture of the fruit, that wickedly good Belgian chocolate, fresh tasting banana, passionfruit, classic ferrero rocher, fig, exotic guanabana, and so much more.

                            Here's hoping that the very talented Ms. Ana Maria Ortiz will spring up again somewhere in these parts.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: Chester Eleganté
                              Herb Dec 1, 2008 04:34 AM

                              Didn't Ortiz split a couple of years ago?

                              1. re: Herb
                                icey Dec 1, 2008 05:17 AM

                                Yes, Ana Maria left Solferino probably over a year ago.

                                1. re: icey
                                  Chester Eleganté Dec 1, 2008 08:13 AM

                                  Ya, I was waxing poetic :) But yeah, it wasn't as good as it used to be.

                            2. dinin and dishin Dec 1, 2008 12:08 PM

                              I loved this place. It was a great place to go for a mid day break during th ewarmer months and sit in the park across the street for some people watching. I hope someone will post when/if they find a new home.

                              1. f
                                figgycrave Apr 12, 2009 06:09 PM

                                Shame. Just called tonight to see if they were open (it's Easter Sunday) and the number is out of service. Best gelato in the city. Went to Hollywood Gelato instead - disappointing.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: figgycrave
                                  a
                                  Atahualpa Apr 12, 2009 07:10 PM

                                  Try Il Gelatiere on Mt Pleasant. Get the nut, chocolate or cream based flavours.

                                  1. re: Atahualpa
                                    Full tummy Apr 12, 2009 09:05 PM

                                    But Solferino had a Belgian chocolate flavour and a chocolate orange flavour to die for... Both were so dark and rich, and the texture there was different than other gelato places, a little firmer, I think. I am so craving it.

                                    1. re: Full tummy
                                      m
                                      merlot143 Apr 13, 2009 12:07 PM

                                      Agreed. Solferino's Belgian chocolate orange was to die for.
                                      But then, so is Il Gelatiere's Chocolate Pepperoncino and Maria flavours. Combined in a cone, they are heavenly. Viva Italia!

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