Do you think it’s important for small businesses to be involved in the community?
Oh, totally. If the people running businesses in the neighbourhood don’t step up to make it a great place to be, then it’s not gonna get done. Parkdale is full of so many wonderful business owners. It’s such a mix of old and new businesses on this strip now, it’s great. Everyone interacts; we all help each other out whenever we can, and do what we can to bring people down to Parkdale.
What made your parents choose to move to Parkdale?
I’m not sure, but we’ve been here over 20 years now. Parkdale’s always been a very eccentric neighbourhood. It’s great, very community-based. It was a different neighbourhood 17 years ago when we started the restaurant.
How has your restaurant evolved as Parkdale becomes more gentrified?
When we opened, we were Parkdale’s original coffee house; there were no other coffee houses around. We started off with just coffee and desserts – cappuccinos and fun coffee drinks – and then, over the years, we just gradually evolved. We put in the kitchen about 10 years ago. We always did quiches and salads, so we had food options, but not much at the beginning. I had a hot plate before. Now we’re a full-service restaurant.
Do you find keeping up with food trends challenging, or is that something that you thrive on?
We follow food trends to a point; a lot of what we serve has been on the menu for the whole 17 years we’ve been here. We can’t take it off; people just order it anyways. Like the chicken, avocado and brie sandwich. It’s been on the menu since the day we opened the doors.
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Photo: Carolyn Grisold