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Dovercourt Village welcomes mini-restaurant boom

Don'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).

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One 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.

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Equally 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.

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There 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.

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Also 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.


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