i think today was the opening day - has anyone gone yet? i'd love to hear what people's reports before i make my trek up there (mostly out of curiosity since i live nowhere near don mills:)).
Monday, June 15 was actually opening day, and I did make my way there only to find it still under construction, paper in the windows, etc. I did speak with someone who said, "Thursday, we're keeping our fingers crossed!" but even she seemed sceptical.
I will be really surprised if they open today.
This was the question on my mind as well, as we debate what to do for lunch in Don Mills today. Naturally I came here first! Then decided to try the novel idea of actually calling Shops at Don Mills. The nice woman who answered the phone had a well-rehearsed response that the Grand Opening has been postponed until tomorrow.
The story in the Post seems to link affluent Lawrence Park to Don Mills and Lawrence.
That is a big mistake. Lawrence Av. East has a gap between Bayview and Leslie. Most shoppers from Lawrence Park will stay on Yonge St. or Bayview.
McEwan's shoppers will come from a much different mould, ethnic Don Mills.
Good luck, Mark!
Article in Toronto Life (with pics), "First look inside Mark McEwan’s gourmet grocery store."
The 20,000-square-foot space is predominantly occupied by counters serving charcuterie, baked goods, seafood and cheese, as well as shelves of house-made (there’s a large kitchen upstairs) sauces, pickled vegetables, soups and prepared meals made from McEwan’s restaurant recipes. There will also be a counter selling chocolates stocked by the Belgian chocolatier Galler, which McEwan discovered while vacationing in Florida a year and a half ago. The store will also be selling the chef’s new line of kitchenware.
No, I am mindful of that area, but the Post article is not, as it leans on hopeful information from McEwan, who links Lawrence Park and the Don Mills Plaza.
While patrons from Post Road or Leslie/York Mills may pretend to be richer than Lawrence Park, there are not nearly as many of them.
I don't like the demographics McEwan has chosen to live with, but I hope he proves me wrong.
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There were film cameras all over the place and many helpers and servers.
You'll probably all be going there yourselves but things that struck me...
The staff are knowledgeable and (at least on opening day) helpful and pro-active.
A large number of artisinal Ontario and Quebec cheeses. Also some very interesting French cheeses, small goat cheeses, raclettes and a whole bunch I have never heard of.
Best selection of balsamic and olive oil. They even had balsamic at $500 for about 1/3 pint if you want to splurge.
Good meat counter and the butchers were prepared to butcher to order. Their meats look excellent although a tad pricey. The only thing that worried me is that they were a little too red and had not been hung - but that tends to be what NA customers want...brown is too old.
Food-to-go looked really good - pity I wasn't hungry. Soups, sandwiches, roast chicken, cold counter of mixed veg etc. That section was lot smaller than I had been led to expect. I was expecting more get-your-dinner-party-here stuff.
Seafood - drooled at the crablegs. No live fish. You can buy coated and seared salmon steaks if the creation of that dish stretches you. Mainly high-end fish in the form of steaks.
Certain sections you might expect to be bigger (eg, hot sauces) but I suspect they don't want to compete with Asian stores and their price point.
Bread - not a lot but looked good. No shelves of Wonderbread. Bought a beautiful looking ciabatta.
Fresh prepared rillettes and other meat products. A few local pates.
Nice little coffee nook - and I think you can eat there.
Odd thing is I can't remember the pasta.
'Home-made' stocks, soups, tomato sauce at 7-10$ per 1ltr preserving jars.
All in all, well worth a visit. I really want this place to succeed. Well done to Mr McEwan for this venture. This is a place you can walk round and formulate a menu in your head. The only thing it is missing is an Internet service to look up recipes after you get the idea :-)
I liked it but somewhat pricey. I use a Ritters chocolate bar price to see how competitive a store is. Some places have Ritters for $1.99, but $2.29 now seems to be the rule. However mcewan is $2.89.
Having said that, the store is a good size (not too large) and there are many wonderful ingredients. Beautiful flowers. Great selection of cheeses. Many sauces and condiments.
Great food to go too. Edo Sushi is there as well.
Also like that the store is not crowded or dark like Pusi's.
Will do for the occasional nice dinner fixins in these times rather than dining out.
One thing I would like would be some recipe sheets that incorporate two or three of the store's products. As it is now, you look at all the sauces/condiments and think they sound yummy, but then wonder what is the best way to use them to produce a fabulous dish.