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Kitchenware store in Toronto that won't break the bank

I've had it with the Made-In-China crap that's sold at Kitchen Stuff Plus.

I had a friend over, drinking scotch out of a rocks glass from KSP. As we were sitting and talking, the bottom of his glass fell out and smashed on the floor, and I don't mean from a particularly robust cheers either. Seated, mid-sentence, his glass just fell apart. Last week a plastic cup I was washing broke in two as I was drying it.

Can anyone recommend a store downtown that's not Williams - Sonoma expensive but carries decent merchandise? Bonus points if it's made locally, or at least not in China.

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  1. It's not downtown but Caynes in Thornhill has quality stuff great selection and great prices. Nella Cuccina on Bathurst is also a good store but has higher end stuff with commensurately higher prices.

    1. Hate to break it to you but you need to be prepared to pay higher prices if you want quality kitchen supplies not made in China. Try following the sale flyers for Canadian Tire. Alternatively you can try Nella Cucina as LSJ2 suggested.

      4 Replies
      1. re: BlackMambaSommelier

        I expect to pay higher prices, just not Williams - Sonoma prices. There has to be middle ground between really high end stuff and crap right?

        1. re: BlackMambaSommelier

          I actually really like Canadian tire glasswear. I worked at a restaurant that used the Debbie Travis collection for their wine glasses and bought maybe 60 in 3 years. With high temp glasswashers etc. that's amazing. In comparison the pint glasses they got from breweries lasted maybe 3 months (less for the half pints) and were better quality than the "pint glass in a 24." Those always suck.

          1. re: BlackMambaSommelier

            Canadian Tire sells items that are not made in China? That is news to me, I call it "Chinese Tire"

            1. re: foodyDudey

              It may be made in China, but it's way better quality than ksf. As has been noted made in China quality can vary. :)

          2. http://www.kitchenplaceyorkville.com/

            the original owner has retired and I have not been there since but their selection and prices were always good

            1. I second or third Nella Cucina. Restaurant qualtity is tougher. The glass sounds like it was already cracked and just finally gave out at that time. You might have whacked it accidentally when it was hot out ofthe dishwasher.
              Please also know that just because something is made in China does not mean it's crap. China makes what we tell them to make for what we are willing to pay. We are the problem not China. I met an Italian manufacturer recently who's biggest growth area is China. China will pay for Italian made housewares and we will not.

              4 Replies
              1. re: crawfish

                I don't have a dishwasher and the glass was only a couple months old. It's not the first incident with something from KSP falling apart.

                As for China, I lived there for a couple of years and one thing I learned from personal experience as well as from other expats and Chinese people themselves was that if there's a way to cut corners to make/save a buck, they will find it.

                I will buy anything made in Japan, Germany or Switzerland because I have absolute faith in the quality. China, not so much.

                1. re: ziggystardust

                  Your preference for non Chinese goods is discriminatory.

                  1. re: jayt90

                    I guess by definition preference=discrimination, right?

                    Some European-made glassware at Crate and Barrel.

                    1. re: jayt90

                      Yes it is. But as long as I'm paying, I'll discriminate as I please.

                2. You can check out the restaurant supply store (Tap Phong) on Spadina, north of Dundas near Kensington Market. Though they have a lot of "made in China" ware, a lot of their merchandise is for commercial use in restaurants, catering, hotels, etc. So the merchandise is good quality and the prices are better than other restaurant supply stores in the city (Nella, Nikolaou, Dinetz, etc).

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: asagiri

                    I've been to Tap Phong many times. My experience there is if you are buying something, say an ashtray or coasters or a doormat where quality isn't an issue it's fine.

                    TP is great if you're a student kitting out your first apartment but otherwise, I've found their merchandise is inferior.

                    1. re: ziggystardust

                      Pretty much every restaurant in the city shops there. Just an fyi.

                      1. re: LexiFirefly

                        Maybe every Chinese restaurant on Spadina shops there but others? Really? I have a hard time believing that but if you have inside industry knowledge I'll take your word for it.

                        As far as I'm concerned TP is the Yugo of Toronto housewares stores. That being said, if someone is on a very limited budget (which I'm not), it's aces.

                        1. re: ziggystardust

                          I'd def pick Canadian tire over tap phong for glassware. But yes most of, not only restaurants, but high end hotels as well, buy a lot of stuff from tp. They also get a wicked discount on top of the already low prices.

                          1. re: ziggystardust

                            I can attest to LexiFirefly. My SO works in the hospitality industry and there have been many times he's shopped for the kitchens he's worked for to pick up equipment and tableware. You'd be surprised which restaurants use them.

                            1. re: ziggystardust

                              Grant van Gameran and Susur Lee shop in Tap Phong, among many others.

                            2. re: ziggystardust

                              First and foremost, Tap Phong is a restaurant supply store, which supplies commercial based goods to restaurants, hotels, etc. These goods are intended to constantly used and beaten up during service and still be held in good condition. Some of their merchandise is a mixed bag (i.e. glassware, plates, cups, etc) and are inferior quality. But certain items, such hotels pans, robocoup, knives, utensils (rubber spatulas, tongs, wooden spoons, etc) are commercial grade. These are the exact same items sold at Nella and other restaurant supply stores in Toronto, but for much cheaper.

                              Think of Tap Phong like No Frills. Not everything in the store is of great quality, but for staple merchandise/groceries (cereal, canned soup, frozen vegetables, etc) it's the exact same stuff whether you buy it from there, or Metro, Loblaws, etc. The only difference is that you're paying less for these same goods at No Frills vs other grocery stores.

                              1. re: asagiri

                                i agree with you about tap phong. lots of generic stuff, but right next to that stuff is the commercial grade product that would be welcome in any home. same goes for ksp and for cayne's and for nella. they all sell a range of product, most of which is produced in china. even the aforementioned williams-sonoma sells made in china/prc products, lol.

                                any time a broad generalization like "made in china crap" is made, i have to question the point that is being made.

                                1. re: afong56

                                  1st world problems.

                                  Let's see how they feel about giving up their iphone.

                          2. I am a fan of Homesense and Winners. Selection varies, but there is usually some great quality stuff.

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: Full tummy

                              I hadn't thought of Homesense (I find a trip to Winners leaves me feeling like I need to lie down with a cold compress on my forehead and a stiff drink), how does it compare to say, Ikea or Canadian Tire?

                              1. re: ziggystardust

                                Hey ziggy. have you tried Nella on Queen east? restaurant supply store that sells pretty much everything.
                                Not the cheapest but it ain't no WS.

                                1. re: petek

                                  Actually I'm not looking for restaurant equipment, I was thinking more of glassware and the like for home. Do they sell that sort of thing?

                                    1. re: ziggystardust

                                      Depends on the glassware. Some wine glasses will come in a box of 6, others 36. You should check it out sometime. It's got lots of "restaurant equipment porn" to dream about but also lots of stuff for home.

                                    2. re: petek

                                      +1 on Nella CUTLERY, not Nella CUCINA (don't quite understand the story behind the similar names, but no doubt there's a reason), either their Queen E or Norfinch locations.

                                      Restaurant supply store. They have everything, and by everything, I mean *everything*. If you need something, you'll find it there.

                                      1. re: biggreenmatt

                                        It was a family business. Rift happened (I think between cousins) so they split them up.

                                    3. re: ziggystardust

                                      IKEA's predictable. I like the stackable glasses, but can't attest to anything else. No need to be scared of Winners. There is usually a very small kitchenware section that can be easily located, allowing you to avoid the headache-inducing aisles. I have purchased Spiegelau wine glasses there, and Denby plates. Yes, there is crap there, too... And you never know what you're going to find.

                                      1. re: Full tummy

                                        Ikea bowls and silverware are only ok. Nice looking stainless silverware quickly discolored. Glazed bowls show cutlery marks after short time. Some induction pots and pans I grabbed have been excellent.

                                    4. re: Full tummy

                                      That's what I was going to say Ft. I've had plenty of good luck at those two stores over the years! I also find them to be super easy to shop at for housewares.

                                      1. re: justsayn

                                        Me too! The only problem is discovering only three of the same item, when what one wants is a set of eight or 12!

                                    5. Pretty much anything non-brand that I've purchased at KSP has fallen apart at breakneck speeds! Their generic stuff is crap! If you're going ultra cheap you may be better off shopping at the dollar store and considering it disposable!

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: justsayn

                                        Also not a fan of generic KSP. It's great for getting a good price on branded items if you don't need the latest model, but I actually prefer IKEA if I just need to replace low value, everyday use items.

                                        Would you be willing to just order online from places like Amazon?

                                        1. re: Underdog Rally

                                          I've bought gadget items on the web with success. Even non-branded. But I also spend an hour researching lol.

                                      2. I'm kinda surprised no one has mentioned Loblaws PC-branded kitchen and table ware. They produce some good quality stuff every season -- not every line -- but I've outfitted my drawers and cupboards with a lot of their merchandise. It might be plain for your taste, but there will be some classic items that are proportioned well that can last you a long time. I'm also a fan of the ikea 365 line if that is an indication.

                                        Not a big fan of KSP or CT here. The stuff is all similar, most of it cheesy and at least at CT there will always be a chance it will go on sale. I avoid KSP for their visual assault.

                                        Let's stop with the made-in-China bashing people. It really sounds sinophobic. You get what you pay for and most people want cheap and it's the market that creates the standard of quality. Almost everything across all categories is made there.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: neighborguy

                                          Second this. I purchased an 8" enameled cast iron frying pan from Superstore for $13(!). It's a beast, and equals le creuset. I've used it at least 3 times per week for the last month and a half.

                                          My slow cooker is also PC brand- and it gets the job done as well as any other brand name.

                                        2. There's a kitchen shop on the north side of Danforth, across from VON, just east of Pape, that's going out of business at the end of the month. Lots of good quality products, including some American and European made lines, that were 30% off on Feb 14th. Not sure if the discount has increased over the past 10 days. FoodyDudey also recently mentioned this place in another thread, but the name of the shop is escaping me. It's worth checking out if you're ready to purchase your kitchenwares now.

                                          I also have been happy with my purchases from The Bay on Bay Day, esp from the Queen St W location.

                                          4 Replies
                                          1. re: prima

                                            It's called Kitchen Roots, she expects to close at the end of the month.

                                            1. re: cheesymama

                                              Thanks, cheesymama. For anyone hoping to check out
                                              Kitchen Roots before it is scheduled to close at the end of the month (tomorrow), it is located at 696 Danforth Ave.

                                              1. re: cheesymama

                                                I walked over to Kitchen Roots today, hoping to find some items that were marked down more than the advertised 30% as I assumed they would be closing Feb 28. The store has fully stocked shelves, and I was told they will be open another month. It does not appear like prices will drop much during the next few weeks, as the owner said all the leftover stock will go to her parents stores when she closes.

                                                1. re: foodyDudey

                                                  Thanks for the update. Glad to hear I have a few more weeks to get there.