Market 707 is back in business for another year. Housed entirely in retrofitted shipping containers along the block of Dundas Street West just east of Bathurst, this unique street food market is a treasure trove of seriously mouth-watering goodies-and is a way better lunch option than the McDonald's and Timmy Ho's across the street. With a sunshine-filled sidewalk patio area (completely fitted out of repurposed crates and containers), conveniently located right outside of Alexandria Park Pool, the block has never looked so good.
For those who don't know, Market 707 is supported by the Scadding Court Community Centre, in an effort to bring local employment opportunities to Toronto and foster a sense of environmental responsibility and community. In June of this year, SCCC will launch five new stalls as part of the Market 707 Pop-ups Incubator. With a heavy focus on retail, these unique storefronts are meant to be a platform for emerging design talent.
Market Manager Shinji (also the owner of Gushi Japanese Street Food) and NomNomNom Crepes owner Marc Perreaut excitedly fill me in on some new additions coming around this summer. A group of artists will be creating a series of vertical gardens in between the stalls, intended to be as much of an aesthetic offering as an environmental one. "We want this to be a photographic destination," says Perraut, light-heartedly joking about the value of visual social media platforms like Instagram and Vine.
Market 707 is an incredible community of forward-thinking entrepreneurs, hoping to utilize environmentally sound and creatively stimulating platforms to purvey their goods. Though many of the vendors stay open through the fall and winter months, May to September is when the market really comes alive and this season, there are a few new faces on the block. We wrote about the market last year, but with these new additions, it's time for an update.
I Deal Coffee + Montforte Dairy
Montforte Dairy Co. has been a part of the Market 707 since day one, but this summer, they've brought in a big twist. They've teamed up with the folks at I Deal Coffee which means caffeine-craving customers can now quench their thirst with an iced americano while shopping from Montforte's selection of handmade artisanal cheese.
The Original One
The Original One is good ol' fashioned bubble tea at its best. There are few things in the summer beverage category that get me all a-twitter quite so much as the juicy goodness of a big cup of traditional milk tea with extra bubbles. The couple who owns the joint are full of smiles as they show me the fresh mango slices they'll be blending for their signature Mango Smoothie Bubble Tea ($5). The pair also added some classic dim sum options to the menu last summer, including my very favorite BBQ Pork Buns ($3) and succulent Siu Mai ($3).
NomNomNom Crepes (formerly House of Jaffle)
NomNomNom Crepes is owned by the ever-boisterous Marc Perraut from Montreal-a man with a serious passion for French-style street food. Originally dubbed House of Jaffles (a signature deep-fried sandwich from Australia), Perraut decided on a name change when due to the limited amount of electricity allotted to each vendor, he soon realized that Jaffles just weren't going to work. Instead, NomNomNom has a menu filled with seriously tantalizing crepes, both savory and sweet, that look too good to be true. Most popular is the Montreal (an homage to his hometown of course) which features Montreal Smoked Meat, Brie cheese, beef au jus and mango chutney ($6.50).
T&T Roti joined the 707 ranks last summer, and offers up Caribbean street food straight from mama's kitchen-or in this case, owner Marilyn's. Though the menu is limited (as so is the space), signature dishes like chicken roti ($8) and veggie options like curried veggies on jasmine rice ($6) are paired with T&T's signature apple chutney and taste as fresh and authentic as they come. Everything is made from scratch and delivered with a warm smile from Marilyn, whose mandate is to share with the community and to always give back.
Gushi Japanese Street Food
Gushi Japanese Street Food is run by Market manager Shinji Yamaguchi, and serves up some seriously delicious fried goodies to keep your stomachs warm. Best known for his incredible skewers-especially the delicious Hot Dog on Rice ($3 for single, $5 for double) and the super succulent Karrage Chicken Skewers ($5) I opted for, which come drizzled in Yamaguchi's signature spicy sauce. Beware, those skewers are not the most lady-like items to eat. Make sure to double down on the napkins and maybe pack a wet-nap.
Wiggle Room serves up high-end Canadian street food with an east-coast touch, and is one of the market's newest members. Run by Ashley Shortall and her husband Daniel Tremblay, the two serve up elevated comfort food like you've never seen. The signature Donair burger ($8) is a seasoned lamb and beef patty, stuffed with sweet-garlic Donair sauce, fresh chopped onions, and tomatoes served on a fresh bun from Cobb's Bakery. The Newfie Poutine ($6) is also a treat, made up of thick, hand-cut fries and topped with stuffing and beef-gravy.
Kitchen Cargo is classic comfort food with a modern twist. Owner Jennifer Chung and husband Anthony serve up traditional meat pies (my chicken pie ran $7) that are so juicy and rich they'll bring you right back to your mama's kitchen. Also on the menu are tasty shrimp tacos ($7.50), pork belly tacos ($6.50) and Steak Pot Pie ($8.50). Paired with the crisp homemade coleslaw, this is a lunch hour meal i could seriously get used to.
Kanto by Tita Flips
A part of Tita Flips' popular catering company, Kanto is the street food outpost for delicious Filipino food in Toronto. Owner Diona Joyce churns out pork and chicken spring rolls (10 pieces for $4), traditional balut ($2.50 fertilized duck embryo that is boiled and eaten in the shell, considered a delicacy in the Philippines) and dinuguan ($6.50 a traditional blood pudding with savory beef stew and offal simmered in a rich gravy).
Kim's a la Cart
Kim's a la Cart has been a staple of Market 707 since it first opened its garage doors. With signature, succulent pan-fried dumplings ($1.25 for 2), korean-style tacos, rice and seafood cakes and piping hot soups, Kim's a la Cart serves up seriously comforting dishes that are far too good to pass up.
Photos by Jesse Milns