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Deep Dish: The Latest Restaurant News

Toronto Restaurant News: Big changes at Jamie Kennedy's Gardiner restaurant...Rain re-branding as Ame, opening in June...Marc Thuet's flagship restaurant re-brands as Conviction...


Photo by Mary Elizabeth Armstrong

Photo by Mary Elizabeth Armstrong

Big changes are afoot at Jamie Kennedy’s food operation at the Gardiner Museum, in Toronto.

Jamie Kennedy at The Gardiner is now operating as an event venue, available for breakfast and daytime events as well as evening business functions.

Starting June 26, JK at the Gardiner will open its patio as a Friday-only, after-work destination serving small plates and cocktails.

Offering sandwiches and seasonal salads, the new Gardiner Café is open for lunch seven days a week.

Beginning June 17, in the Terrace Room, the Weekly Lunch Series with Jamie Kennedy kicks off. Starting at noon each Wednesday, the series offers a three-course, $25 prix-fixe lunch.

For several decades, Kennedy has been at the forefront of the locavore movement, championing area farmers markets and Ontario wines.

Toronto impresario Charles Khabouth is collaborating with Guy and Michael Rubino to re-brand Toronto’s Rain restaurant, opened by the Rubinos in the late ’90s.

The 5,000-sq.-ft. space, which is being redesigned by Munge Leung, will open in late July as Ame, a contemporary Japanese eatery.

Marc Thuet has re-branded his flagship King Street West eatery again, this time, as Conviction, which will star in a reality TV series airing on CITY-TV this fall.

Thuet and his wife/business partner, Biana Zorich, are partially staffing the restaurant with reformed ex-convicts as a social experiment.

The reality series, Conviction Kitchen, follows Thuet and Zorich as they cull seven waiters and six cooks from 84 ex-cons. Those 13 finalists are then put through a three-week culinary boot camp before the restaurant opens to the public.

Conviction’s menu will be Italian-centric.

The Conviction launch follows a re-branding of the same space, less than a year ago, as the unfortunately named Bite Me!.

O.Noir, a dine-in-the-dark restaurant, staffed by blind servers, that has operated in Montreal for three years, is slated to open a Toronto location June 24, in the Town Inn Suites.

The Toronto location will have 100 seats and serve a French/Mediterranean menu. Private rooms for groups of 20 to 40 will be available as a corporate meeting facility and special event venue.

A lit lounge will be available for pre-dinner drinks. Although the focus is on dinner, lunch will be available for groups of 15 or more.

In late summer, Salt Wine Bar & Gourmet Food Shop will open on white-hot Ossington, two doors away from Pizzeria Libretto. Modern tapas, inspired by Spain, Portugal and Italy, will partner with charcuterie, cheeses and wines. Wine tastings and wine classes will also be offered.

This restaurant is not affiliated with cheese- and charcuterie-themed Salt Tasting Room, which has operated for almost three years in Vancouver. Sean Heather, owner and co-creator of Salt Tasting Room, plans to open a Toronto location in the next 36 months.

Susur Lee has launched Zentan restaurant on the lobby level of Donovan House, a Thompson hotel in Washington, D.C.

The menu focuses on Lee’s signature global modern Asian food, which is also served in Above D.C., the hotel’s just-opened rooftop pool and bar.



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