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Eat & Drink

Toronto's first flexitarian restaurant closes its doors

Posted by Natalia Manzocco / July 11, 2014

bickford flexitarianSad news for Christie Pits-area vegans, gluten-free types, and eaters of all kinds: The Bickford Flexitarian, a brunch and lunch spot located in the former Linuxcaffe at Harbord and Grace, appears to have served its final sandwich. Diners report the restaurant has shut its doors, and the Bickford's website and phone number are no longer operational.

The family-run restaurant, which only opened just year ago, offered dishes meant to cater to a variety of dietary needs: banana crepes for the vegans, raw bread sandwiches for the raw foodists, chicken omelettes for the omnivores, and kale slaw for everybody. The food was a local fave, but a few other major revenue opportunities came up short; a proposed front patio never materialized, and the restaurant's liquor license took them the better part of a year to secure.

Will you miss the Bickford Flexitarian? Tell us your tales of brunches past.

Discussion

19 Comments

Mikey / July 11, 2014 at 11:35 am
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This place was perfect in every way but not supported by the community??! It's me from the Monarch, what is happening in the space?!?
charade replying to a comment from Mikey / July 11, 2014 at 11:42 am
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Decent overall vision but the portions were far too small.

Seems like a weird or petty thing to say but took several people there and that was always the takeaway. Again, may seem trife but if I'm going for brunch somewhere it's gotta be filling even if it's just on hash browns etc added on the side.

Ben / July 11, 2014 at 11:51 am
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FUCK OFF! I meant to go there someday. Seems like a doomed location. Everything is fucked.
The Clever Pup / July 11, 2014 at 12:05 pm
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Looked great, and great location but drove by daily and could never see its name.
Kendall / July 11, 2014 at 12:12 pm
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Great place. Loved their mushroom pate sanger. I walk by it everyday and was wondering what happened. Thanks for the update though its a shame to hear they've closed their doors.
neilson / July 11, 2014 at 12:33 pm
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adios flexitarian, your terrible name guaranteed your inevitable failure.

intrepid restaurateurs and entrepreneurs of toronto,
i beseech you; please build a bar at this location. it has a built in audience of linux nerds and uncommitted vegetarians, and there’s essentially no competition in the immediate area. all you need is a snappy name and the savvy resolve to not price yourselves out of existence.

i’ll even get you started on names:

the parkview (obvious, i know)
the 50/50
the hookup
the bald duke
scattershot kitchen
buried creek

and the ever-present dark horse contender:
free-the-paedos! (hyphens and exclamation included)

now go forth and profit.
good-bye / July 11, 2014 at 01:35 pm
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Good, another example of how not to conduct business.
Can people please try to understand business. The customer wants what they want and if you wish to stay in business you need to deliver what they want, how they want it, when they want it and for the price they want to pay.

Simple business 101. I presume this place was run by kids due to the name with zero understanding on what running costs are.

For those of you looking to open a new place, put in dibs on the hardware located inside. Fire sale is now on at least 60% off if they have any brains left.


offensive yeller / July 11, 2014 at 01:50 pm
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Nice resto. I live in the area and went for there brunch once. I got the waffles, which, I'm pretty sure were just eggo waffles on a plate. I love eggo waffles, but not at that price point. GL
The Questions replying to a comment from good-bye / July 11, 2014 at 02:51 pm
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What the fuck are you talking about? Are you Doug Ford? Are you just spouting some random nonsense with no context or relation to the conversation around you?

You presume by the name it's run by kids? Are you mentally defective? Do you think if it were named "Sir Roland's House of Charm" it would have fared better? What do you define as "kids"? Did you mistake this restaurant for a wooden lemonade stand? Did I miss the crooked FIVE CENTS sign outside?

Do you have any brains? Not left, but at all? I mean to begin with?

Another example of how not to leave comments - Let's hope your name implies you'll soon be relieving us here on earth of your presence.
Please Please / July 11, 2014 at 05:04 pm
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Can we please please get a black camel outpost in this spot?
That would be PERFECT.
Max / July 11, 2014 at 05:06 pm
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I knew the owner(s) from high school days. Nice people but I don't think they really knew how to run a business. The location is great with the dense residential population and schools nearby.

I think they tried to appeal to too many niche tastes and the lack of focus was their undoing.



Beth / July 11, 2014 at 05:08 pm
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I am a vegetarian and was excited for this restaurant. I went once for brunch with friends and all our food was mediocre and the portions small. I never went back.
Ryan's Song replying to a comment from Ryan / July 11, 2014 at 08:44 pm
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@Ryan - did you stop to think for a moment that "raw bread" is perhaps not what you think it is, especially when described as something appealing to those who like "raw foods" (although, in fairness, I've never heard of raw bread referred to as raw bread before) ... "raw bread" is not uncooked conventional bread, it is actually a superior product in health and flavour, made from cooking ingredients like seeds, nuts and vegatables at low temperatures. jackass.
Bobo replying to a comment from Ryan / July 11, 2014 at 08:52 pm
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Too bad, I was just lamenting the other day that Toronto did not to my knowledge have a restaurant like this. Although, there is a trend towards lighter, healthier options to some extent.

In terms of health-focused fare, Fresh has been thriving from day one with mediocre food, but they have high traffic locations and good branding. Live has also done very well for similar reasons. Both are good at self promotion and attract veggie and non-veggie people looking for a healthy meal.

Seems like the location was off, the menu a little confusing to the various camps, and the name definitely problematic. The term flexitarian would be cute explained on the menu, but not so enticing in a name.
JC / July 12, 2014 at 06:57 am
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I'm your average omnivore, thus probably not qualified to have an opinion, but I think restaurants that feel the need to over-complicate the dining process are already starting off as a second floor walk up. The market is crowded, and exploding with wildly different choices in terms of cuisine, so don't make it harder on yourself with complicated menus, misleading names, pretending to be a "vegetarian butcher" or expecting your clients to want to learn ASL. Serve good food, treat them nicely, you might make it. This isn't to put down the owners of this place or any other, it's strictly an observation.
Table for 3 / July 12, 2014 at 11:55 pm
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No patio. No liquor license. Never became exactly what they intended it to be. Natalia definitely got it right. Neilson, good-bye, yeller, ryan are all pretty classic commenters, and Max, though I agree partially with what you said because I know them, I feel that you too are talking straight out your ass. No doubt they could have done more, but they made the right choice closing.

We wish you all the best. Keep in touch. G.F.Y.
CG / July 13, 2014 at 12:08 am
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I loved the Bickford Flexitarian. I actually didn't mind the smaller portions - the prices were reflective of the amount and value of the food. When I wanted a larger portion I would usually split an extra meal with a friend. One of the difficulties for me was that the kitchen was a little slow. I'm going to miss those raw banana crepes a lot.
Nelson Mandela / July 14, 2014 at 06:09 am
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Hipster
healthy vegan replying to a comment from Max / July 14, 2014 at 01:11 pm
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they appealed to a specific niche of vegans and meat eaters who wanted to eat together and not have one of them get shafted with fake meat or healthy fried vegan food like my mother and I

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