Where to eat naked in Toronto
In my opinion, life is all about simple pleasures; propping your feet on the dash while riding shotgun along a country road, tasting that first scoop of gelato in the summer, and taking your pants off before sitting down to a good, homestyle meal.
In case you didn't know, all of the above can be done (legally) in the company of others. Just hop in the car and drive 30 minutes north east of Toronto to Bare Oaks Family Naturist Park, and you can enjoy your eggs and toast with lots of sausage.
The Bare Bistro has been a treasured amenity at the naturist park since 2007. Like in the swimming pool, clubhouse, on the volleyball courts or campgrounds, clothing is not only absent in the Bistro's dining room, but it is generally not permitted.
"We're not clothing optional," Bare Oaks manager Karen Grant tells me. "When visitors come, they're expected to adhere to the dress code." The term "dress code" is perhaps a bit misleading then, since the dress code amounts to no clothing at all.
"Naturism as all about respect for one's self, and respect for the body," Grant continues. "You'll find that once people shed the inhibitions of clothing, there's nothing to hide behind anymore. This place is very social; our members are always smiling and holding out a hand to anyone who's new."
The Bare Bistro is not exactly a drop-in nude diner. "It's more so for people who are here at the park with their families for the day or camping out on the land." If you are planning on visiting, however, it's probably best to disrobe in the car. "Usually, our members are just itching to shed their clothes so they take them off right when they arrive."
The Bistro is open seven days a week in the summer serving lunch and dinner, and breakfast on weekends. Operated and managed by Liz Savel, it is currently on a scaled back schedule for the winter months ("we are a naturist park, after all," says Grant).
"It serves a lot of light fare; hot dogs, hamburgers, eggs for breakfast, that sort of thing. Liz has a great touch, you really feel like you're sitting down in someone's kitchen."
Liz generally handles the kitchen herself during the winter, but stocks up on volunteers and staff during the busy summer months. "I tell you," Grant continues, "her chicken parmesan sandwich is really something." The bistro is also fully licensed and serves beer, wine and frozen drinks--a good thing if you're new and feeling a little.. uh, shy.
"There's indoor seating and a deck, which can fit, oh, 60 to 100 people," Grant says. "You're nude anyway, so you're going to want to be outside."
The busiest times are Thursday through the weekend in the summertime. When things are fairly slow, Liz will make one evening entrée and post a sign at reception for everyone to see. "There's a great community here, and new people are always welcome," Grant says. "I can't tell you how good it feels to eat a summer meal with friends in your most natural state. Here, we work on our all-over tans."