7 Restaurant Success Stories from the Yonge Street Strip
A Postcity.com partnership
Koek Koek's Obi Wan Bulgogi bowl.
Post City X Yonge Street
City strollers, weekend walkers and foodies all gravitate to Yonge Street, the hub of Toronto's downtown, for a taste of something special.
Its restaurants are some of the city's finest, with a selection of top Toronto restaurateurs setting up shop. We hit the strip to give you the rundown on the best eateries that Yonge Street has to offer, from middle eastern dining to pub grub.
Here are their stories...
The Abbot Pub & Fare
Chris Davis & Carrie McCloy, Owners
3367 Yonge St., 416.544.9074
Chris and Carrie came up with the idea for a high end pub back in the nineties, before “gastropub” was even in our vocabulary. They enjoyed the fun comfortable atmosphere of a pub, but craved creative house made dishes of high quality ingredients…and good wines!
The Abbot opened in May of 2000 to a packed house. The Yonge-Lawrence area was obviously the right fit for this concept. The restaurant business is notoriously difficult but it comes naturally to Chris and Carrie, both have been in the business since they were teenagers. They claim their success is due to great staff and wonderful customers.
The Abbot team knows about quality service. The kitchen crew is extremely talented, elevating traditional dishes into great meals, and the floor staff is very professional, while excellent at making you feel like part of the family. A neighborhood restaurant is measured by its regular clientele. “Many of our customers have been coming in since day one. Some couples even met here and now they bring their children!”
What does the future hold? “With our second location in full swing (The Abbot on Eglinton, 508 Eglinton Ave. West) maybe a franchise…”
Steve & Wonder Chen, Owners
2685 Yonge St., 416.932.2811
C’est Bon was set up in 2000 and success didn’t come easy. It was only after seemingly endless experimenting that eventually created award-winning recipes. The top quality of ingredients used with the impeccable service soon was rewarded with a loyal clientele which enabled the restaurant to manage to stay afloat during the SARS crisis.
Located north of Eglinton on Yonge St., C’est Bon is a local mainstay. Customer favourites are plentiful at C’est Bon. Among them: General Tsao’s Chicken, Crispy Ginger Beef, Seafood Cantonese Chow Mein and of course, the award-winning Sweet & Sour Chicken. According to Steve, the restaurant is best known for its Basil Chicken which is prepared in a homemade sweet soy sauce with garlic, ginger and garden-fresh basil. Vegetarians are in luck as well with a variety of options on the menu including a braised tofu dish with shitake mushrooms.
Steve attributes much of his success to his mother, Wonder Chen. He says her hard-working spirit taught him never to give up. Wonder always encouraged him saying that hard work would be requited with good things.
Tabülè Middle Eastern Cuisine
Rony Goriachy, Owner
2009 Yonge St., 810 Queen St. E., Bayview Village, 494 Front St. E., 416.483.3747, 416.465.2500
Husband and wife Rony Goraichy and Diana Sideris planned to open a middle eastern restaurant. In 2006, they opened the doors to Tabülè & rave reviews followed. They don't aim to be edgy, they go the traditional route making sure the food is always fresh, delicious and served by friendly staff. They doubled the size of the Yonge location and added a successful delivery, catering and wholesale division. The 2nd location at 810 Queen St East opened in May 2013 and it was one of the most anticipated openings of the year. They kept their original menus but added more gluten free options, vegan selections and a refined cocktail list. Their 3rd location in the Canary District opened July 2016 and their 4th location in Bayview Village Shopping Mall in late Fall of the same year.
They believe they achieved success by developing relationships with their clientele and the high quality of their food and service. "People keep coming back and telling others and that is success to me" says Rony. Tabülè has been voted Best Middle Eastern Restaurant by several magazines, voted Best World Cuisine, Top 100 Restaurants 2010 by Joanne Kates – Post City Magazines, Best of Toronto –Toronto Life and has a rating of Excellent in Zagat.
Koek + Koek Food Co.
Nikki Hall, Owner
2685 Yonge St., 416.901.0209
Drawing inspiration from European Cafe-Restaurants, Nikki Hall set out to replicate a similar experience for Toronto diners: delicious food, attentive service and a welcoming atmosphere. Doubling as a gourmet quick-serve health food establishment that transitions into a bistro at night, the end result at Koek + Koek is a winning dining experience. All food is made in house, from scratch everyday, using only the freshest and highest quality ingredients.
Nikki is most proud of the success of the Family Feeds under Fifty. While preparing and cooking meals for our families is something many people enjoy, it’s not always possible to pull it all off. Not willing to sacrifice the family meal bonding time or compromise on the quality of food, Nikki created meals for families that are guilt free, nutritional and feed a family of four for under $50. They only prepare 25 of the family meals a day to ensure the quality and freshness. “I test everything on my own Guinea Pig children. However, you can have the greatest concept or recipes, but if we can’t consistently deliver a quality experience, our friends, families and customers won’t come back for it. That is why we cap the number of meals we provide.”
Salvatore Mele, Owner
1366 Yonge St., 416.921.3141
Capocaccia started from very humble beginnings in 2003 by Salvatore Mele. Salvatore set out to open a bakery and hot table but quickly realized the concept wasn't going to work. He needed a sit down restaurant that would cater to the overflow of hungry patrons looking for a good, wholesome, food experience. He transformed into a neighbourhood trattoria inspired by the rustic cuisine of southern Italy. His belief that food, like most things in life, should be left to it’s own natural beauty. No funny adaptations, just flavourful southern Italian cooking.
Capocaccia offers house made pastas, and mouth watering roman style pizzas using the finest ingredients. Our Chef’s De Gustazione tasting menu. 4 courses which allows the chef to take you on a truly unique dining experience. Salvatore believes the secret to his success is simple, he states “We feel honoured and indebted to the community, loyal patrons and friends for our reputation and supporting our commitment to quality and service. A walk through our doors ensures guests are welcomed with a genuine hospitality experience”.
Johnny Prassoulis, Owner & Chef
1450 Yonge St., 4421 HWY. 7, 586 Yonge St.
Since opening in September 2011, Holy Chuck has made a huge impact in the burger world. Holy Chuck founder, John Prassoulis, is a homegrown Toronto chef who has cooked in some of the great kitchens across the city. His experience has paid off by earning their signature burger The Holy Chuck Burger, “The Best Burger” in Toronto by Joanne Kates & Celebrity Chef Massimo Capra. They have also been rated as one of the Top 100 Restaurants in Toronto in 2014 in Post City Magazines & Top 3 Best Burgers in the World from About Time Magazine in the U.K.
“Holy Chuck is a fun & family oriented atmosphere with ample seating so that anyone of any age can enjoy a truly great dining experience at a reasonable price,” states Prassoulis. Besides the aged fresh beef, what also sets Holy Chuck apart from the rest is the variety in his menu like the deep fried Nutella lollipops, award winning milkshakes & even The Holy Duck Burger (Foie Gras on top of a single patty with double smoked bacon, truffle oil & pure Canadian maple syrup). “It’s quite simple, if you’re looking for a great burger experience that encompasses so much more than just great burgers, fries & shakes, go to Holy Chuck! Not only will you not be disappointed, but you will be wow’d!”
Pho King Fabulous!
Kevin Hoang, Owner
2411 Yonge St., 647.352.5288
Not being satisfied with the pho selection in Toronto, owner Kevin Hoang decided that he could do so much better and opened his own restaurant in May 2015. “Owning my own business has always been a dream. After 25 years of working for others, I decided it was time to do something for myself.” After months of planning and countless hours of hard work, Pho King Fabulous! was born.
Serving authentic Vietnamese dishes along with their main attraction, their delicious broth is created by slowly simmering beef and chicken bones for hours before adding a special selection of spices to bring it all together. “Our process yields an extremely rich broth that separates our soups from others”, says Hoang.
Never resting on his laurels, Hoang states his willingness to adapt to his clienteles needs, as well as his employees suggestions, has been a contributing factor to its success. “Our secret is not really a secret. We keep our customers happy by maintaining a high quality product and providing fast and friendly service. We do make mistakes from time to time, but ultimately strive to not make the same mistakes again.” Making the Top 100 Restaurants list in its first year of service is certainly a testament to this commitment.