With lowest-ever COVID numbers (in recent ’21 history) in our seemingly perma-closed city, there’s a reason to feel slightly optimistic these days. Summer in the city is bound to sizzle, whether that’s on a patio or a park bench, PRIDE is upon us. Phygital events include Jenn of Quench Bar with an interactive cocktail and snack session and Camellia Mayers of DVOURR with her Guyanese-Trini flavour class. Full PRIDE programming can be foundright here www.prideguide.online/home.

We’re drooling at the prospects of sporting our best muumuus and sashaying our way through Scarborough Town Centre’s EATS NIGHT MARKET. From June 18th right through summer you can park your dinner plans and perch just outside under the stars with international eats from Toronto’s best and brightest. Open Friday, Saturday and Sunday, strict masking and distancing protocols make it fun for everyone. Daily dining options from STREET EATS are also on deck, with Scarborough Town Centre and Hillcrest already up and running. Look for Burlington and Vaughn to get in on the fun later this month.

Oliver and Bonacini Restaurant Group quietly bought up the old SpeakEasy 21 last year and while the dust settled the plans are here and they’re hopping. Rabbit Hole is our new watering hole on Adelaide, set to open with a whopping 120 seat patio later this month. Word on the street is Leña‘s Sous Chef extraordinaire Laura Petracca has been promoted to Chef de Cuisine for this authentic British-inspired eatery.

lena- chef julie chef laura

Pizzeria Badiali is opening in the old Good Neighbour spot on Dovercourt. The corner space boasts a nifty patio that will fit perfectly in this pizza-thirsty pocket.

The Backyard Smokehouse opened on Dupont recently. The classic southern BBQ recipes pair with quality USDA Halal meats bringing brisket, smoked shrimp and more summer backyard favourites to this part of town.

Myth Restaurant will be replacing The Citizen on King West. The sprawling space will feature Greek-influenced faux architecture including soon-to-be-sought-after seats on the outdoor terrazas. John Tsoumari, CEO of UNIQ Hospitality Group will be bringing his personal heritage to this project, Myth was originally a concept for this group on the Danforth in the 90’s.

Our friends at The Dep have had a brunch residency for the past six months, and now, with their own brick walls we can’t wait to drop by Fattoush in Cabbagetown for more. Look for Fattoush to open on Gerrard in early May.

Openings are still happening, and we’re excited to visit Emmer, a new bakery opening soon in The Annex on Harbord. Handcrafted coffees and fresh baked goods will never go out of style, we’re excited to see this new space evolve.

Surreal Food Co is launching a bakery cafe concept at Bathurst and Eglinton this month. Look for Kosher finds to go with that grab and go hot drink- a boon for this pocket when this Metrolinx is finally finished.

County General

County General at Queen and Shaw has called it quits. The longstanding occupant of this wrap-around restaurant known for their stacked chicken sammies has closed after operating takeout only for the past 12 months.

The jury is still out on what’s happening over at Loch & Quay. A few restaurant owners that rented space in the shared kitchen were shuttered last month, while owner Ryan points to other problems for the disolution. Marquee tenant Chen Chen’s Nashville Chicken disbanded months ago, but no word out if that was planned or part of this exodus.

Qi Sushi has closed in Cabbagetown. The much loved sushi den was a haven for locals and the outpouring of support on social media is a reminder of the Covid fallout that is sure to still come.

After 23+ years in the business, owners Mi Tierra Restaurant closes on St. Clair by Bathurst. Owners Monica Jimenez and Gustavo Álvarez took to Facebook to thank the community for the support.

The much-loved patio of our dreams on Queen West has closed. After a few name changes before calling it quits, rooftop favourite The Gaarden closes just before the season started. The space is now up for rent for special occasions and surely will find a new permanent purpose, like another newly reinvented patio (we hope).

All photos by Libby Roach.