chez lisgar

Secret Toronto restaurant wants to trade for your dinner

It's easy to barter and trade for goods and services in Toronto thanks to Bunz, a popular Facebook group that has recently expanded to an app, available for both iOS and Android. But, you may have a hard time bartering for restaurant food in this city, especially now that the Atlantic has closed down.

Though, two twenty-somethings are trying to change that with Chez Lisgar, a cash-free supper club they're running out of their tiny West Queen West apartment.

Roommates Nadya Khoja and Sarah Lee, both 24, usually cook at least one nice dinner per week. One night in early February, they mused about offering up their leftovers to local traders on Bunz. They took it one step further and decided to invite a guest (or two) to their next meal - in exchange for wine and beer, of course.

"The next morning we had about 400 like and 100 comments on the thread," says Khoja, who works in marketing. "And my inbox was full of people saying that they'd be interested in coming over."

On February 12, the roommates hosted their first Chez Lisgar dinner party. Khoja, a passionate home cook who once auditioned for Master Chef Canada, whipped up bourbon maple-braised pulled turkey leg on a ciabatta bun, guacamole-stuffed onion rings and a green salad with homemade lemon balsamic vinaigrette. The two diners arrived right on time armed with three bottles of wine and two tall cans of beer.

The evening wasn't awkward at all. In fact, Khoja says she hopes to hang out with her guests again. She and Lee and know it's hard to make new friends in the city; Chez Lisgar lets them branch out, meet new people and become part of their community.

Currently, the two are booked solid for every Friday night until the end of April - they even have a waiting list.

And while they're happy with how Chez Lisgar's running for now, they're starting to think about the future. "We might want to turn it into something that involves more discussion on life in Toronto," Lee says, "This idea of sharing food and sharing your stories as well."

Photo courtesy of Chez Lisgar.


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