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Dec 12, 2013 07:04 PM

Carbon Bar

Drove past Carbon Bar (same owners as Nota Bene) and it seems to be open (yes it is according to their facebook page)..

According to sources they pumped 3 million into renovations in this place. It is 99 Queen St E just east of Church. And the place looks like they spent a ton of money in the photos on their site. It is not the most desirable area it will be interesting the crowd they attract, Nota Bene seems to be a suit crowd but not many offices at Queen and Church.

Here is a sample of their rmenu:

"From the wood fire pit"
everything from the pit

Plus the usual burger ($19) rest of the menu here:

Will have to see how they stack up to the blooming BBQ scene in Toronto..

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    1. Looks interesting. Thanks for the report that it is open and the menu links

      1. "According to sources they pumped 3 million into renovations in this place."

        I call BS on this. Not a chance they could ever make that back. Not that I can tell anyway.


        23 Replies
        1. re: Davwud

          Maybe they bought the building.. and they are claiming that cost as part of the build cost?

          1. re: pourboi

            I guess if they bought the building and are leasing other parts out it may be possible.


            1. re: Davwud

              no disrespect but, 3M for that building incl renos? a 1000sqft condos downtown cost 750k.

              - khao san road

              1. re: Davwud

                Umm... its a two story building and their space is two stories high I am not sure what there is left to "rent out"?

            2. re: Davwud

              i hear earls spends more than that on each location (as i understand it).

              I think Weslodge & Patria are in that same range too (im guessing).

              even an "unnamed" cafe costs 750k to open.

              (we did it on the extreme cheap :P)

              - khao san road

              1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                A friend opened a 75 seat restaurant (downtown Toronto) for less than 100k a year ago. That includes all material, labour, furniture & lighting. Kitchen and bathrooms were not touched as the were pre-existing but the complete interior was gutted down to the dry wall and redone. Now they did most of the work themselves except for electrical and bar plumbing. But it can be done.

                Anyone who spends $750k on a "cafe" (I am talking cafe with no kitchen) is not too bright IMHO...

                1. re: pourboi

                  Psst... I maybe wrong but I think you just told an experienced restaurateur is not too bright on their successful launch.

                  1. re: Nevy

                    OK Unless your cafe is say in a Federal controlled Airport where everything had to be union and you had to build all your own walls and put in all electrical plumbing etc.. needed architects and planning permission etc.. it may cost $750k..

                    But if you are like 90% of new cafes opening where you take go in a space in a building and just renovate and furnish run some extra plumbing and it cost you $750k then you are not too bright..

                    I bet Khao san road did not cost a million to open, did it? and it is more than a "cafe".

                  2. re: pourboi

                    fair enough.

                    i only know im in no position to question how Franco does business.

                    - khao san road

                    1. re: KhaoSanRoad

                      Franco is a smart man and always seems to look long term. He sees the value in real estate (that is why I have a feeling he may have bought that building). But when a place is a restaurant and only open for dinner in a "sketchy" area of town where his clientale will need to drive or cab too, it will take a lot of $19 burgers to make back $3million.

                      I wish him and David Lee the best of luck, but I think February will be a long month for them...

                      1. re: pourboi

                        Sketchy... umm two doors down from George and a very expensive women's club. Not so sketchy.

                          1. re: justsayn


                            Moss Park, on the eastern edge of the downtown, is ranked:

                            ■First for per capita drug charges.
                            ■Second for per capita assaults.
                            ■Fourth for per capita break-ins.
                            ■Seventh for per capita sexual assaults.

                            1. re: pourboi

                              I know all about it. Believe me you are more than safe and there isn't a hotel in town warning guests to not go there.

                              1. re: pourboi

                                Do you live in downtown Toronto? I walk home from downtown to Queen and Broadview every day and via Moss Park most often. Never once had an issue. Time to open your mind me thinks.

                                1. re: JennaBean

                                  Yes you walk through it but how many times do you stop and sit in a coffee shop for an hour in that area or leave your car parked for 4 or 5 hours after dark?

                                  As for warning not to go I agree they probably do not but has there ever been a reason to go except for George where, correct me if I am wrong, but I believe the restaurant does not face out onto the street? I think the kitchen guys are cooking in the front window. if it is such a great area why hide it from your guests when you have that long row of windows?

                                  I live at King & Church I do not avoid the Moss Park area I just have no reason to go there.

                                2. re: pourboi

                                  Hey pourboi, according to your stats the neighbourhood is improving!

                              2. re: pourboi

                                Franco owns countless properties in the city, and has for decades. The potential is there that he has been sitting on this space for years and renting it out. Probably bought it a long time ago for a dime. His knack for real estate is uncanny, and well documented.
                                There have been rumours about this new place floating around for a few years now. These guys are seasoned veterans, don't think they need to worry. Add to that the fact that David Lee is a very talented chef, I think they will do just fine.
                                I hope to check it out over the holidays.

                                1. re: phisherking

                                  Doesn't St Joseph Media (Toronto Life etc) own that building?

                                  1. re: MissBingBing

                                    St Joseph Communications bought the QRC (Queen Richmond Centre) building, renovated and moved most of their media business into it, and then sold it to Allied as a commercial property full of 10-year leases. I'm not sure how much of the block is actually under that property ownership though.

                            2. re: pourboi

                              "Kitchen and bathrooms were not touched" and "they did most of the work themselves" ARE YOU KIDDING ME??

                              Where do you think most of the money is spent in a new restaurant?? An ecologizer alone can easily cost $100,000.

                              1. re: CarNut

                                That is why you take over an existing restaurant after the original owner shuts down because he sunk a million dollars into a place and could not make enough to pay the bills.. tons of places for lease like that... Take a look at the "Restaurant Closing" section of this board... for each one closed usually another opens in that same spot for pennies on the dollar for the equipment that the first time owner bought brand new. A new ecolgizer may cost $100k but try to sell it used at an auction after you are bankrupt and see how much you get for it.

                            3. re: KhaoSanRoad

                              I know that all of the INK properties are well into the $2-3M range for their renos.

                              It is a good looking space but at the price point they will need to sell a lot of booze.

                          2. Crappy draught list for the most part. At least KBC got in there. *sigh*

                            1. we are getting off topic here and I dont want the chow police to delete this..

                              all I am saying is that that is a lot of money to spend on a "non-prime" location but I wish them the best and they may help gentrify the area. I look forward to trying their BBQ. If anyone tries their food let us know.

                              3 Replies
                              1. re: pourboi

                                Yes, 25 posts and not a single review.
                                How is it - ANYONE?

                                1. re: estufarian

                                  Zagat has a review and some food pics...

                                  Not sure if that is the standard rib portion or just what they got for a photo-op / opening day sampler... but it looks quite small. The "Plate of Brisket & Ribs" seems to have two or three ribs and a couple of chunks of brisket.