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Feb 27, 2010 06:27 AM

PETER'S CORNER has been replaced by SOUVLAKI EXPRESS. Is this a good thing or a bad thing people?

Yesssss, I realize it's a chain. However, anything at the corner of Parliament & Queen is better than another decaying, empty space in the neighbourhood.

Souvlaki Express
745 Mount Pleasant Rd, Toronto, ON M4S2N4, CA

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  1. Like you said. It's not a neighbourhood that currently is going to attract artisan restaurants. And this is a better thing, IMHO, than a Money Mart or a cheap beer bar.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Pincus

      Au contraire. The general nabe already has Sukho Thai, Mengrai Thai, and Weezie's all within close proximity. Yes, relief did pass across my face when I saw I wasn't getting another biohazard dive-bar.

      I was hoping this particular corner would attract a Greek greasy spoon since it's more suited to that intersection. Oh hell, who am I kiddin'? I wanted a decent burger for five bucks. Is that too much to ask? I'm hoping that Souvlaki Express' chain ambitions doesn't hinder their ability to turn out good food. Have you ever eaten at one?

      1. re: Googs

        Nope, never eaten at one. There might be some nice restaurants in walking distance, but that particular part of Parliament is still somewhat dodgy. I agree it's always nice when some bold restaurant owner tries to drag a neighbourhood up, but maybe baby steps are all that we can hope for.

    2. Sounds like a bad thing to me Googs. I hoped that when JK opened Gilead Cafe, others would jump into the fray and take a shot at opening a 'real' restaurant in the neighbourhood. Perhaps in the future when things gentrify a bit more.

      8 Replies
      1. re: DrewStar

        Holy cats! Really. There ARE good restaurants in the neighbourhood. Civilized ones even, not just hole-in-the-wall's. I dine in one of them roughly once every week or two. Honest. I just wanna know what this one is.

        1. re: Googs

          Perhaps I should have narrowed my comment to focus specifically on the Queen-Parliament nexus.

          Sukho Thai is good for a 12-seater spot (12 seats sounds about right, if memory serves).
          Weezie's is quite lovely on a summer evening looking out at Little Trinity Church as the sun sets. Food's not bad, but not stellar, in my opinion.
          Gilead Cafe makes for a leisurely lunch. Very good poutine and salads. Haven't tried dinner service.
          Fusilli Restaurant I know you're a fan of. We'll have to agree to disagree on that one.

          Even with the rampant condo development, the Queen-Parliament corner is still not happening in terms of restaurants. Basically Magic Oven (empty whenever I look in the window), Dominos and Subway. Perhaps it's just geography that affects the entire area --- Regent Park to the north, Richmond and Adelaide slicing through, Don River to the east, massive West Don Lands construction, homeless shelters, St.Paul's church and the schoolyard next door, Marty Millionaire, etc. --- not really that many spots to put a restaurant.

          Regarding "Souvlaki Express," perhaps I shouldn't pre-judge. But anything with the word "Express" (other than a bus) lessens my anticipation.

          1. re: DrewStar

            The reaction I had when getting off the streetcar was, hey signage has gone up 'yay' (smile), the name starts with souvlaki 'Eeee-yaaaay' (bigger smile), the name ends in express 'aaaahhhhh' (somewhat bummed look). Two outta 3 ain't bad.

            Magic Oven deserves to be empty. Nice how they always seat people in the window so it doesn't look like it is.

            I wish you'd give Fusilli another shot. Come on a night when Giuseppe's in the house and try the stone oven pizza. Start with the tomato-mushroom soup to warm you up. The worst that can happen is you'll have an average meal. The best that can happen is you'll taste what I taste.

            1. re: Googs

              Okay. I will give Fusilli another shot and order your suggestions. Third try may be the charm.

            2. re: DrewStar

              re: the use of express lessening your anticipation.
              Even Pastis Express, DrewStar? ;-) It's one of the better French restaurants in TO.

              1. re: phoenikia

                Nobody is asking for millions spent on a top-tier marketing department, but how much effort goes into " _______ Express" (fill in the blank with your favourite restaurant or food item)?

                Then again, perhaps Juliet had it right...

                "What's in a name? That which we call a rose
                By any other name would smell as sweet."

                1. re: toboggan3

                  They want a name that suggests fast food, so what else could they use?
                  Souvlaki Rocket doesn't sound right, and Souvlaki Train sounds like some Korean place.

        2. Full disclosure: I know the owners of the Souvlaki Express on Mt. Pleasant quite well. My experience with their food is mostly what they bring home from the restaurant when they entertain. Think fairly standard, serviceable but unremarkable souvlaki joint food - the menu hits all of the standard Greek cliches. I have no idea if this location is affiliated with them at all, but I'd say you could do worse, but don't get too excited. ;)

          12 Replies
          1. re: Wahooty

            Finally someone who's eaten their food. I was going to christen the place "G Dubya". Millions of people voted for him, but try and find one person who'll admit it.

            Thanks Wahooty. That's all it needs to be. It would be nice if it were more, but really it just needs to please the neighbours, not be a destination.

            You are forever sworn to secrecy with your SE friends as to my true identity. You got that Agent Wahooty?

            1. re: Googs

              Au contraire, Googs darling, this meddling kid fully intends to rip off your rubber mask and reveal you to be the creepy gardener just when you think you've gotten away with it.

              1. re: Wahooty

                Creepy Gardener. BWAH HA HAAAA!

              2. re: Googs

                Okay, I have more scoop - yes, it IS the same people. So while yes, it is a chain, it's one of only two links so far, and definitely a family operation. Yiannis is a doll, so on a personal note, I hope they do well. Do let me know what you think of it - I know you'll be honest no matter how much I like the owner. ;)

                Oh, and for my next trick, I promise I can produce people who not only voted for Dubya, but will freely admit to doing such.

                1. re: Wahooty

                  I've been wishing and praying for a Greek greasy spoon to move into that space since the original owners of Mr Tasty decamped. I consider it nothing short of a miracle that I got my wish. They'll get all the love and tenderness that they need while they build their rep in my hood. Clean, swift, inexpensive, and decent is exactly what the corner needs. I hope they hit all those points.

                  1. re: Googs

                    I don't think "greasy spoon" is really an accurate descriptor - I don't think you'll be finding your cheap burger there if the current menu is any indication. But I'm told they're shooting for March 15 as an opening date, so you'll be able to judge for yourself soon enough.


                    1. re: Wahooty

                      I found their website the same day I saw the sign. It's there!!! Right there on the Kids Menu. $4.95 burger and fries. I'll wear my low heels and see if that'll fool them.

                      When I call them a Greasy Spoon think of it as me saying Honey Bunch. It isn't their name, it's a term of endearment.

                      1. re: Googs

                        Yeah, but when I think Greasy Spoon, I primarily think of burgers and breakfast. In an endearing way, of course. ;) Regardless, I hope it fills a void!

                      2. re: Wahooty

                        Any more scoopage, Wahooty? They're looking like they're about a week from opening. If you have the new opening date, please dish.

                        1. re: Googs

                          I asked, and it sounds like typical renovation hiccups. Current estimate is "about one more week," so your estimation skills are well-honed. I have been promised I'll be the first to know, though. :)

                          1. re: Wahooty

                            Just got word that they are now open.

                            1. re: Wahooty

                              Indeed and doing business. Definitely on my to-do list when next I desire meat on a stick. And I mean that in the nicest way.

              3. Interestingly, a new greasy spoon called 'Peter's Place' has just opened very rapidly on Broadview just south of the Danforth. Same people perhaps?

                1 Reply
                1. re: haggisdragon

                  I was wondering that myself. They are in that spot that seems to be cursed for restaurants. I remember at least three that have gone under there.