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Dovercourt Village welcomes mini-restaurant boom

Posted by Derek Flack / March 29, 2012

2012329-actinolite.jpgDon't look now, but Dovercourt Village is about to take a humble spot on Toronto's restaurant map. Once something of a black hole for dining spots other than bakeries and Portuguese sports bars, the area around Dupont between Ossington and Dufferin is set to welcome three promising food destinations this spring. While this news is likely to lead to some talk of pending gentrification — a discussion which has already started in relation to Geary Avenue — it's also just exciting news for the restaurant-starved neighbourhood (which, I should note, some refer to as Dovercourt Park).

2012329-actinolite-menu.jpgOne of these three restaurants is, in fact, already up and running. Actinolite, a small but slick-looking bistro at Ossington and Hallam streets, officially opened its doors yesterday. Owned and operated by Justin Cournoyer and Claudia Bianchi, the restaurant has been in the works for what seemed like ages. Locals got a peak at the space about a month ago when the window coverings were temporarily taken down and since then it's been an impatient wait for the true unveiling. Actinolite looks like the quintessential neighbourhood spot, serving up a variety of what might best be described as bistro classics.

2012329-picea-far.jpgEqually exciting — if not more so for some — is the news that the southeast corner of Dovercourt and Dupont will soon be home to Neapolitan pizza joint called Picea. This place has also been in the works for a while. Originally set to be called Ivy's, activity has ramped up at the site over the last few weeks.

2012329-picea-sign.jpgThere are now signs in the window promising a spring opening date. It's probably best to take this with a grain of salt given that the restaurant appears to have faced a number of setbacks over the last couple of years, but the fact that interior renovations continue is certainly a good sign. Now if only the website or Facebook page would load.

2012329-kitch-ed.jpgAlso on the cusp of opening is Kitch, a restaurant/club hybrid that the Post reports is the work of Starving Artist co-owner Bryan Jackson and partner Jose Rodriguez. This might be the most intriguing of the three. While Geary isn't bereft of food options, it's not exactly buzzing with nightlife. There's a small market already in place thanks to the recording studios and a few unsanctioned late-night spots that Kitch might be able tap into, but its ultimate success will rest upon whether or not it becomes a destination spot. There aren't too many of those around these parts, so it would be quite the coup to pull this off. Here's hoping it works.

It's too early to speculate what this little restaurant boom means for the neighbourhood, but in an area with lots of empty storefronts, it'd be hard to argue that it's anything but a positive sign. We'll have more on all these places in the coming weeks.



Fred / March 29, 2012 at 05:53 pm
This is awesome news.
Lindsey / March 29, 2012 at 05:57 pm
I live in the neighbourhood so I am happy to hear this!
Susan / March 29, 2012 at 07:01 pm
So when's the Starbucks coming?
J*town replying to a comment from Susan / March 29, 2012 at 09:33 pm
When do you want it to come?
Kat replying to a comment from Susan / March 29, 2012 at 09:58 pm
@Susan, it's at Dupont and Christie.
lol / March 30, 2012 at 01:06 am
I would like to know why comments were disabled for HAVEN SHOP article????? This is a free country, why can we talk about other companies, peoples style, or rant about anything else, but cant there???
Derek replying to a comment from lol / March 30, 2012 at 02:22 am
lol x 2

Before you go off on free speech, make sure you're trying to comment on the right article. The comments are closed on the announcement stub, not on the actual review!!!!!!!
Sea / March 30, 2012 at 02:23 am
There's a Starbucks at queen and Dovercourt and at college and dovercourt
Disgust / March 30, 2012 at 08:23 am
EricM replying to a comment from Disgust / March 30, 2012 at 08:32 am
Good luck with that.
Nirmala replying to a comment from Lindsey / March 30, 2012 at 09:07 am
My neighbourhood, too! I'm at Dupont & Shaw and have been looking forward to Actinolite. I was also curious about the space at Dupont & Dovercourt (mystery solved, thanks). Plus we have The Hub! And then Bloor is not far away...neither is St Clair. This is a great neighbourhood, even if it doesn't look like it.
Monique / March 30, 2012 at 01:37 pm
Yay! This is great news! (I'm also a dovercourt village resident!)

As for the Starbucks comments... Seriously - there's such a long stretch of bloor street without a starbucks! it's hard to believe that the closest ones (on Bloor) are on the other side of Bathurst and then somewhere on the other side of Keele (Clendenan perhaps?) Someone could make a killing in this neighbourhood if they were looking to start a starbucks franchise! Just look at the Tim Horton's on the corner of Gladstone & Bloor - it's always packed!

That being said - it's nice to see some indie coffee shops opening (that aren't bakeries) like the rustic owl. We need more of these!
sbux replying to a comment from Monique / March 30, 2012 at 03:21 pm
Starbucks locations aren't franchised. The company owns all stores in North America (some exceptions, like airports and university campuses) ... but agreed, there are many locations in this city that would do well and that have so far been overlooked.
freddy bauer / April 16, 2012 at 07:26 am
any hot girls want to go on dates to these places? im in the area too.
Abigail / April 29, 2012 at 02:56 pm
Picea 997's Facebook Page is now live! Come by and say Hi!
Leah / June 28, 2012 at 01:36 pm
AND Picea 997 is now officially open, so come in for some pizza because it's DELICIOUS!!!!!
Bruno / July 25, 2012 at 04:04 pm
We live very close to Picea, went in one day to see the place and like it, very comfortable. Our first dining experience, though was mixed. Inattentive service(but friendly), as soon as we ate our starter of stewed meatball, they forgot about our pizza order and we sat there for at least 15 minutes with only water on our table and we were upfront next to the bar(hard to miss!)and it wasn't busy.
only one red and one white wine offered(and stingy)no aperitifs and a very limited menu.
Not encouraging if they want to build their business.

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sounds like you're homophonic lady! chill out!
me replying to a comment from badwoman / January 21, 2013 at 09:46 pm
It's BlogTO. Feel lucky it's even readable. Most "writers" here are barely literate.
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