kawine and dine

This is what Toronto restaurants are doing about Ka'wine and Dine

After Kawhi Leonard said goodbye to the Toronto Raptors this past weekend, Ka’Wine and Dine badges are being removed from storefronts.

In a technical sense, the campaign was a failure because it did not achieve the primary goal of bribing Leonard to re-sign with the Raptors, but the campaign founder said it achieved what they were hoping it would.

“When we came up with it, we did not expect Kawhi to walk into any restaurant and eat for free. He’s a multimillionaire,” Zarar Siddiqi, a Raptors Republic blogger who participated in launching the campaign, said.

Approximately 700 businesses signed up to either feed or offer Leonard free merchandise for life if he agreed to stay in Toronto. The campaign launched in April during the NBA Eastern Conference Finals and was almost entirely crowdsourced.

To participate, businesses just downloaded the campaign badge online and posted it on their store window.

For Siddiqi, it was about the act of invitation. Just like inviting someone into your home, Ka’Wine and Dine was about welcoming the athlete into the city. “That invite is a very human thing to do,” he said.

It was also a conversation starter that sparked strangers to discuss the Raptors. Before the initiative’s popularity peaked after TNT reported on the campaign in May, people approached storefronts and asked what the logo was for.

“It was something for the city to come together and talk about,” Siddiqi said. The campaign successfully developed a common thread between Raptors fans.

Like many businesses across the city, the owner of Bread and Butter  will be removing his Ka’Wine and Dine sign this afternoon.

“It’s done. He’s gone, so I’m guessing everybody around the city is doing the same thing, unfortunately,” restaurant co-owner Lazar Bunda said.

Despite that the campaign didn’t sway Leonard to stay, Bunda said it was great publicity for restaurants in the city and “obviously people wanted to jump on it,” he said.

The campaign undoubtedly brought together fans and promoted restaurants. If only it could have swayed Leonard, too.

Lead photo by

Ka'Wine and Dine 


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