Liberty Village is getting a quesadilla café
By Jon Sufrin
Quesadilla time (Image: Maizal)
Toronto is obsessed with tacos these days. That means tortillas have been getting thrown in the limelight too, and later this month, the flatbread will be getting some serious treatment in Liberty Village. Taking over the old Liberty Belle Bistro space is Maizal Quesadilla Cafe, an upcoming takeout-oriented restaurant that focuses on corn and the traditional Mexican dishes derived from it — tortillas in particular. And tacos won’t be on the menu.
Behind the project are business partners Gabriela Ituarte and Ivan Wadgymar, who were inspired to start their own restaurant after spending the past few years selling homemade tortillas at farmers’ markets around the city for ChocoSol.
“I’ve been in the culture of tortillas my whole life,” says Ituarte, who hails from Mexico City. She’ll be heading up Maizal’s kitchen.
A centerpiece to the new eatery is the corn grinder, which uses volcanic stone in the Mexican tradition. It’s set up in the open so that patrons can see how the tortillas are made. Maizal uses a centuries-old process known as nixtamalization to make its tortillas, which involves soaking corn in an alkaline solution to remove the husk before grinding it (this makes the corn’s nutrients more accessible to the human body).
Maizal will feature a simple menu of Mexican standards including sopes (smaller-sized tortillas), tlacoyos (oval-shaped, thicker tortillas) and, of course, quesedillas, all of them filled or topped with such items as mushrooms, beans, chicken, poblano peppers or spinach. The plan is to have no dish cost over $10.
“This is food that you’d find in the markets in Mexico,” Ituarte says.
Currently, Ituarte and Wadgymar are working with Kawartha Ecological Growers to source organic yellow and red corn. Eventually, they intend to use corn that they grew themselves. Other potential purveyors include Sausage Partners and Monforte Dairy (sourcing local and organic ingredients is a priority).
The 1,000 square foot space has a liquor licence and will have 18 seats inside, along with a 12-seat patio.
Maizal aims to open later this month.
Maizal Quesadilla Cafe, 133 Jefferson Ave., 647-351-0133