June is usually reserved for a full-court case of gallivanting, celebrating summer (and last year notably something else too), Pride and patio season. Let’s just call it, 2020 had different plans for us. From COVID-19 closures to anti-racism protests throughout North America and the world, it’s a time of division and violence, it’s oppressively depressing, and it’s hard to imagine how we’re going to all collectively recover.
But since I’m a Leafs fan, I’m a bottomless pit of hope. I hold onto hope. It’s always darkest before dawn.
Last month we focused on restaurants that are staying open, pivoting to pantrys, operating under a new plan. Not much has changed, other than the list of those opting in is growing. The next month will absolutely make or break your local cafe/bar/pub. It’s time to double down on our efforts to support these businesses.

Enough with the lip service, it’s time to vote with our wallets. Showing support for black-owned businesses and restaurants goes beyond vacant social media pledges- get out there and show some love and seek out these establishments (and actively denounce those that are racist). @BlackOwnedTO, is an Instagram account crafted by @kerin.chanel that explores and highlights black business owners in Toronto.

While Takeout Day continues to prove popular with consumers and restaurateurs alike, it’s becoming a stark reality that even when restaurants are allowed to reopen, they won’t be able to turn over tables like they did before, with sanitization protocols and staggered seating surely to be introduced.

babel restaurant

Babel’s Chicken Shwarma

June 11th will mark the 86th day since restaurants were forced to close- it’s also the term for an item being sold out in a kitchen.  Join us on June 11th and get an extra side of guac too. Order up and let’s get those chits rolling!

Open for Business

Marben might look a little different these days without the packed patio, but the goods are still up for grabs, with the pantry stocked for grab and go items or build your own box of gourmet goods for safe and contact-less pickup. The demands for John’s Burger, Fried Chicken and Fish and Chips have been answered. Wine and beer are also on order.

Marben’s Fried Chicken Feast

The patio may be closed but the Peter Pantry is now open. With safe secure one-person-at-a time pickup and delivery options too, your fridge and freezer are about to look a lot sexier with vac sealed fun bags of proteins, sides and mains, and weekend BBQ ribs, chicken, burgers and sides. Get the menu for Peter Pan here. 

Culinary Adventure Co. is known for their dynamic canoe trips to the islands, and their interactive city walks, and now, they’re bringing you a Neighbourhhood in a Box, parceling up some of our cities finest goods from specific pockets, like their latest box featuring Leslieville/Riverside treats, like Brickworks Cider, Blackbird Bread Co. and hummus from Tabule. All boxes also come with a $25 voucher for when we can finally leave our four walls. From $99.

Hummus spread from Tabule

The Carb Plug is a brilliant offering from young Chef Arya Hamedani, who’s selling hand crafted pastas with curb site contact-less pickup at a parking lot at Yonge and St Clair every Saturday this June at 5:30pm.

Looking for some new techniques in the kitchen? Part of Canadian Women in Food, and a future #LadiesFirst feature, our friend Vanessa of Aphrodite Cooks is opening her amazing studio for Zoom enabled cooking classes. Learn how to make Chinese Dumplings from the master, and add a new recipe to your lockdown life.

El Catrin in the Distillery District is now open from Tuesday to Sunday. Get your taco fix and while you’re at it snag beer and wine to get that authentic El Catrin experience. They’re also kicking off their Isolation Partner Contest – nominate your partner, kid, friend or roomie, whomever you’ve been stuck with for the past 80 days and they could win $1000 cash!

Buca has long been known for their stellar Italian cuisine, and now, you can bring Rob Gentile to your cucina with swift and safe pickups from their St Clair as well as delivery around Toronto. Grazie!


King of Kensington and all around food wizard Luke Hayes announced he’s doing drop offs of his amazing eats from the LUST clubhouse. Find out what’s on deck for his weekly supper club, now held in your home! Order in advance, they tend to sell out.

Cactus Club Cafe is crushing it with their killer takeout menu, including slushy boozy drinks that are a cinch to make, and even easier to drink! Their full menu is also available for safe pickup, or delivery through conventional food apps.

cactus club frose

Cactus Club Frosé

Restaurants We Lost

We may have danced on the bar here in our 20’s, but it’s time to say see ya later to Crocodile Rock and their clubhouse of bro-culture.
Southern Accent said goodbye after decades of New Orleans themed drinks and Cajun cuisine.

Southern Accent

Southern Accent

Butter Avenue on Queen Street has closed, but still open online for macaron magic.
Tennesse Tavern is being rebranded to Gianna’s Pies and Patties, a Detroit-style pizza and burger place. It’s already open.

Pizza Rustica has been cancelled. After being implicated in a racist tirade, the pizza chain with a location near the SkyDome might still be open, but do yourself a favour, and keep walking. Show racists the door and get your eats elsewhere.


Got a burning food tip? Hit us up! food@auburnlane.com

All photos by Libby Roach.