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Parkdale's Cowbell enters the deadpool

Posted by Alexandra Grigorescu / February 4, 2013

cowbell torontolThe first time I ate at Cowbell was something of a watershed moment--newly emerged from a stint of my intermittent vegetarianism, I feasted on charcuterie and gave nose to tail dining a shot, and found it delicious enough to keep me chowing down on bone marrow for a good long while. So, it's with a heavy heart that I bid farewell to Mark Cutrara's Parkdale restaurant, which closed down this past Saturday.

After six years of carnivore-appropriate dishes marked by locally-sourced ingredients and expert butchery, Cutrara posted the following message on the restaurant's door:

To my valued customers, neighbours and friends,

Over the past six years, it has been a great honour to be part of the Parkdale community. I'm proud to have served you the best of what Ontario has to offer, helping to introduce locally sourced, quality produce, and nose-to-tail dining to the city's tables. However, it is with great sadness that I must announce Cowbell has closed as of February 2.

I would like to give my sincerest thanks to all Cowbell staff past and present. It is because of them that we have earned the loyalty and appreciation of so many wonderful customers. I cherish the legacy that Cowbell leaves behind, and look forward to what they will bring to the food community of this fine city.

Cheers, and eat well,
Mark Cutrara

According to an interview with the Grid, Cowbell has apparently fallen on some hard financial times in recent months, above and beyond Toronto's tendency to forgo dinners out during the deep chill of winter. Cutrara isn't bowing out of the chef game entirely, though, saying he plans to continue his work with The Group of Seven Chefs, although he's no longer involved with the highly-anticipated Samuel J. Moore inside the Great Hall. The Grid says that Cutrara is currently reviewing new tenant applications for the space, so here's hoping he'll continue Cowbell's legacy with another hot dining spot. It's a tough playing field, guys.

Photo courtesy of Cowbell



David Miller's Diaper / February 4, 2013 at 02:39 pm
Oh no! :(

This was a great place to eat. One of my favourites! Went there multiple times with guests. Great staff! Excellent food!

But, as the author noted, I'm one those who chooses not to go out as much. Sorry, Cowbell, for not supporting you more.

But, at the end of the day, I have loads more money that I can actually put to better use: purchasing investments that actually make me money.
NOOOO / February 4, 2013 at 03:38 pm
Junction / February 4, 2013 at 03:54 pm
This is sad...I enjoyed the food here! Sorry to hear.
Johnny Thunders / February 4, 2013 at 04:20 pm
Thanks to Gord Perk's restaurant ban, there will be no replacement for Cowbell until November. Keep Parkdale Empty!
melissa / February 4, 2013 at 04:51 pm
To be honest, I used to eat here frequently, but the recent months have shown a less-than-inspiring menu... it's actually caused me to leave right after seeing the menu on a few occasions in the past 4 months. I went a few weeks ago and was so disappointed by the service I actually vowed to never go again.... I guess this is what happens when you stop inspiring the food community and rest on your laurels
Right replying to a comment from melissa / February 4, 2013 at 04:57 pm
Because you know everything that is going on at Cowbell, correct?
Pasquale / February 4, 2013 at 05:04 pm
Not surprised, the place was overrated. Worst steak frites I've ever eaten in my life.
Rick replying to a comment from Right / February 4, 2013 at 05:16 pm
Who gives a shit whats going on inside this place???

When I go in a restaruant all I want to do is eat good food, have a drink or 2, pay my bill and leave, hopefully satisfied.

I shouldnt have to worry about what is going on internally that would cause the food and service to decline.
shane / February 4, 2013 at 05:34 pm
who's going to tell Christopher Walken?
mmm / February 4, 2013 at 06:07 pm
This place was great. I will miss it. Unfortunately with so many good restaurants opening up in the past five years, a lot are not going to last.
See ya! / February 4, 2013 at 07:36 pm
Had one of the worst meals of my life there - food & service. I wrote a long email to the chef, owner & manager and never even heard back from anyone acnologising my complaints.
me / February 4, 2013 at 09:35 pm
YAAAYYYYYY!!!!!!!!! GREAT NEWS INDEED!! Thank you BlogTO!!
Moneesha replying to a comment from me / February 4, 2013 at 11:17 pm
Are you a troll?

Go back to where you came from! This comment section is only for serious discussions.
Guardian of the Internets / February 5, 2013 at 04:47 am
Whoa, that went from, 'this is a place for serious discussion,' to flame war, in a hurry.
Way to get sucked into that huge battle of wits, Moneesha.
??? / February 5, 2013 at 09:47 am
What the fuck just happened here?
Guardian of the Internets / February 5, 2013 at 10:31 am
It appears the Admins have deleted a slew of posts between 'me' & 'moneesha.' Hate filled, moronic pap, yet, mildly amusing.
me replying to a comment from ??? / February 5, 2013 at 01:18 pm
Basically, Moneesha's little attempt at keyboard warrior/tough guy/Internet Police backfired. So, nothing important.
beefcurten / February 5, 2013 at 01:25 pm
Decent food, but I experienced some seriously terrible service here.
monster dump replying to a comment from me / February 5, 2013 at 09:28 pm
LOL. me, I read all your comments (prior to them being deleted).

I wouldn't play the innocent one here.

me replying to a comment from monster dump / February 5, 2013 at 09:36 pm
Who cares? Moneeeeshsha is an idiot.I just gave her/it her/it's cumuppence.
me replying to a comment from monster dump / February 5, 2013 at 10:54 pm
Jimmy / February 6, 2013 at 08:57 am
Aw crap, my gf (best ever) had her first steak in years there recently and I've always been a fan. RIP.
van / February 7, 2013 at 05:58 pm
BlogTO sucks on their content showing poor 'journalism' about this city! It is immature and inaccurate.
I wish I could have the ability to erase any bad comments that people make about the things I agree with.
That I call corruption, favoritism and not playing fare.
Take the BAD comments BlogTO! and do something, BlogTO really sucks! and it represents the sad/unsatisfied portion of the people in Toronto.

..and here I am reading all these stupidity, gosh! go figure.
Stokes / April 16, 2013 at 12:26 am
Congrats to the author for your recent liberation over vegetarianism.
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Rick / June 30, 2013 at 12:34 pm
Really sad to see Cowbell go. My wife and I lived in Parkdale for 13 years, and it was such a welcome addition to the hood. It was one of our regular places, and one of my favourite restaurants in the city. We recently moved to Trinity Bellwoods, and walked over there for dinner the other night, only to find it shuttered. Deeply saddened.

Thanks for 6 great years Mark
Other Cities: Montreal