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Toronto Openings...Bohmer, Ruby Watchco, Malena & Origin!

The Macallan 18 Mar 29, 2010 06:28 PM

Just realized the amount of top restaurants that have popped up in the last few weeks. This could possibly be the most important time for new restaurants that we've seen in at least 2 years. Very excited to check them all out. What order should we go in!?

I'm thinking Origin, Malena, Bohmer and Ruby Watchco. Will try to hit them all and report back within the next 10 days.

Anyone want to add any other newly opened or soon to open places to this list?

93 Ossington Ave, Toronto, ON M6J, CA

  1. Kagemusha Apr 4, 2010 07:46 AM

    Maybe. Was never sure whether Crawford jumped or got pushed into her new spot. Not sure if rising interest rates won't scuttle this boomlet. Sorry but I don't see a trend, just some isolated activity.

    15 Replies
    1. re: Kagemusha
      gregclow Apr 4, 2010 09:31 AM

      Who's calling it a "trend"?

      All of these restaurants were put into the planning stages at different times, ranging from over a year ago to just a few months back. The fact that they all opened within the same couple of weeks was simply a coincidence. Or as you say, "isolated activity".

      Also part of the coincidental "boomlet" (great word, that):

      L.A.B. - Howard Dubrovsky and Chris Scott's new place at 651 College, opened last week
      The Atlantic - Nathan Isberg's new place at Dundas & Brock, opening this coming week

      1. re: gregclow
        Kagemusha Apr 4, 2010 09:54 AM

        Er, "trend" is what the OP implies(e.g., "This could possibly be the most important time for new restaurants that we've seen in at least 2 years.").We'll see, especially against the background of 09-10 closings across the GTA. Borrowed money has been cheap but angel investors/patrons have had their own issues, too, not to mention diners.Friends in the wholesale supply and allied building trades catering to restos kvetch about receivable problems with many clients. Still, I admire anyone confident enough to bull into the business when it's this shaky.

        1. re: gregclow
          vidkid Apr 27, 2010 12:20 PM

          Here's a bit more info about Atlantic from TO Life:

          I'm hoping to try the place out this Friday but I don't think I'll order ahead for the crickets.

          Atlantic Restaurant
          1597 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M6K1T9, CA

          1. re: vidkid
            sutopiasue May 4, 2010 04:34 PM

            Atlantic is fantastic. The very reasonably priced tapas style card is full of thoughtful dishes. I went with a friend and we shared four dishes and were impressed by each new plate. I did find it funny that they were only serving West Coast oysters the night I was there. Atlantic?
            Go try it soon before word gets out.

            1. re: sutopiasue
              vidkid May 5, 2010 08:00 AM

              How much did you pay per person? Did you need to make reservations?

              1. re: vidkid
                chocabot May 9, 2010 07:38 AM

                it was 100 for 2 (oysters with kimchi, frogslegs, crickets, gnudi, vereneki, choco risotto and 2 drinks) I was still hungry could have easily gone up with one or 2 more dishes. Everything was delicious, my faves being the vereneki and crickets.
                We had reservations and they had walk-ins sit at the bar to wait on a Sat night.
                Cosy atmosphere and sweet servers.

        2. re: Kagemusha
          Gary Apr 4, 2010 10:58 AM

          I don't see any justification for this pessimism. Restaurants always close and open at a faster rate than most businesses, and even that long "2009 Closings" thread mostly consisted of places that quite frankly deserved to close, regardless of the economy. These were offset by dozens of new openings.

          New places like Origin and Ruby Watchco are hardly fly-by-night operations. Both are being opened by experienced chefs with great reputations who have surrounded themselves with good teams. Origin has restored a fantastic historic building in the heart of the city's oldest neighbourhood. Ruby Watchco is timed perfectly to pull Leslieville's food rep up to the next level and will be a boon to surrounded businesses. Both have reasonable price points that are right for these times. Both have great early reviews.

          I'm puzzled why you seem to keen to rain on some good news, and so eager to see disaster in the Toronto restaurant scene which, to me, seems more vibrant and interesting than it's ever been before.

          1. re: Gary
            Kagemusha Apr 4, 2010 02:12 PM

            "New places like Origin and Ruby Watchco are hardly fly-by-night operations. Both are being opened by experienced chefs with great reputations who have surrounded themselves with good teams."

            OK...How do you explain Jamie Kennedy's torment? Besides, the GTA food and resto scene is perennially vibrant and interesting--just not everywhere for everyone at the same time. It's just business with winners and losers.

            1. re: Kagemusha
              Gary Apr 4, 2010 02:16 PM

              JK admits he expanded too much and too quickly. He screwed up. It doesn't mean others will follow this path (or that they won't). Just my opinion, I'm not an expert. And I think this is off topic anyway. I hope these new restaurants succeed.

            2. re: Gary
              sloweater Apr 4, 2010 03:17 PM

              For what it's worth, Ruby Watchco has been packed since it opened. While it doesn't necessarily indicate long-term success, it does indicate that there is still an appetite for new and interesting restaurants in the city.

              I would hardly call the new openings a trend; rather, it makes good sense to open in the spring when people are emerging from their winter shells.

              Invoking Jamie Kennedy's "torment" is hardly a compelling comparison, since he was heading Gardiner, JKWB, Hank, and Gilead while spearheading Evergreen and other slow food and charitable ventures. These are sole proprietors with far less to manage on their plates.

              Jamie Kennedy
              9 Church St, Toronto, ON M5E1M2, CA

              1. re: sloweater
                Flexitarian Apr 4, 2010 05:00 PM

                Yes and not to mention the fact that JK borrowed to buy his Prince Edward County operation, which in itself was more than one person could handle in the best of times.

                Still I think JK is one of the greatest chefs out there and hope he can re-establish himself. He just needs have a money guy as a partner to reign him in so he doen't over-extend himself.

                1. re: Flexitarian
                  sloweater Apr 4, 2010 05:07 PM

                  I had dinner at Gilead a couple of weeks ago and it was great. The room was full on a Wednesday night - with some of Toronto's luminaries there. The food was well-prepared and great value. Jamie was running amuse bouches to the tables himself and chatting with guests when he had the time. I think he'll be just fine.

                  1. re: Flexitarian
                    Kagemusha Apr 4, 2010 05:34 PM

                    No "money guy" would get close to the Kennedy train wreck. Maybe there's an NGO or UN rescue program for impecunious restauranteurs. Let's see how they fare as interest rates impact their clientele over the next two quarters. Recall Susur Lee's brilliant timing for the NYC move? Who knew?

                    1. re: Kagemusha
                      Googs May 9, 2010 08:02 AM

                      Indeed. More of a "stop spending money and start structuring for long term" manager with an LLB/MBA under their belt required. I'd hate for all of this good will and well wishing for JK to eventually result in a penniless retirement.

                      1. re: Googs
                        Dimbulb May 9, 2010 09:48 AM

                        He still owns a lot of property in Prince Edward County. Don't put him in the poor house just yet.

            3. c
              Calam1ty Apr 3, 2010 04:40 PM

              Can't think of any but I am really keen to hear your thoughts on Ruby Watchco. Did you or any other chowhounds try it yet? Also does anyone have the scoop on where the name came from?

              2 Replies
              1. re: Calam1ty
                Whats_For_Dinner Apr 3, 2010 06:09 PM

                I actually just picked up a copy of City Bites today, and there's an article on the place -- implies that they got the name from a "Ruby Watch Co." sign that Cherie Stinson found at some secondhand store somewhere.
                Add me to the list of those who are dying to hear what it's like.

                1. re: Calam1ty
                  bluefirefly Apr 4, 2010 04:59 AM

                  Calam1ty, there has already been discussion about Ruby Watchco. Check the link: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/697395

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