35 restaurants and retail chains that came to Toronto in 2019
Restaurant and retail chains that came to Toronto in 2019 are well aware that this city is a total honey pot when it comes to business opportunities. We may not be able to afford rent, but Torontonians have proven to be some of the biggest spenders when it comes to eating out.
Whether it's new bubble tea shops from Taiwan, food trends from Japan, or problematic fried chicken chains from the States, it seems our arms and our wallets are (mostly) open.
Here are some notable restaurant and retail chains that came to Toronto in 2019.
It wasn't turbulence-free landing, but America's most infamous anti-LGBTQ fried chicken chain managed to launch its first location at Yonge and Bloor in September amidst protests and massive lineups. Next up: Yorkdale.
Korea's top beauty brand arrived in Yorkdale several months ago, marking its first foray into Canada with natural ingredients from Jeju Island.
The stripey boba drinks of this massive Taiwanese bubble tea chain is already a hit across Asia, and this summer saw the brand's first Canadian location by Yonge-Dundas Square.
Hailing from New York is this Japanese brand specializing in perfect udon noodles. This sleek restaurant on Queen West opened in April, bringing a much-needed udon specialty shop to Tdot.
It's a Japanese crepe frenzy at this pink-hued store on Church Street—the first in Canada. The chain, which already has 50 locations worldwide, now offers more than 60 styles of crepes right here in Toronto.
Another day, another Asian dollar store brand that looks exactly like Miniso (it was even called Ximiso before a very confusing rebrand). This version, which touts itself as a Korean-inspired lifestyle store, opened in Fairview Mall in July.
Yup, another dollar store brand, this time in Empress Walk Mall. This version marks more than 500 locations of this Shanghai-based brand, selling everything from beauty products to stationery.
This Australian-style cafe took over a Lavazza cafe location this summer and is now bringing New York-based roasts and salmon toast to King East.
A new spot for Fukuoka-style tonkotsu ramen hit Queen West in April. It's a Canadian first for Ikkousha, which already has more than 70 locations worldwide, and certainly gives next door neighbour Hakata Shoryuken some healthy competition.
Swiss chocolate has found a Canadian home at the Eaton Centre, where you can now find an assortment of their FrischSchoggi shipped straight from Switzerland.
Toronto can finally partake in the rising trend of Korean sticky rice corn dogs at this Toronto outpost of the popular chain. Hulking sausages covered in fried ramen bits and gamsung can be found at this tiny store on Byng.
Exploding across the scene in Toronto is this huge Chinese chain offering pots of rice and chicken, which launched seven locations across the GTA over the span of just a few months.
For the first time ever, Torontonians can make custom Kit Kat bars thanks to this chocolatory, which opened a permanent location in Yorkdale just in time for the Christmas season.
People could hardly wait for the opening of this chic Montreal restaurant, which opened at King and Portland in May with its vegetarian menu of burgers and botanical cocktails.
Jelly sweets and crushed ice arrived at Yonge and College this summer, just in time to beat the summer heat. Out of hundreds of this Taiwanese chain's locations worldwide, this is Canada's first.
The fashion fave of celebrities like Kendall Jenner, Rihanna, and Meghan Markle has arrived from Los Angeles in Yorkdale, meaning you too can now spend a couple hundred dollars on a t-shirt.
A sprawling 10,000-square-foot space in Brookfield Place is now the home to this Peruvian- and Japanese-inspired restaurant with tasting menus and fun design.
Bubble tea names have never been so entertaining (and slightly depressing) thanks to this Chinese brand which landed in Richmond Hill, pouring up boba with names like "Waste of Life".
Bringing the fire this winter was the Richmond Hill launch of this Chengdu-based hot pot brand, which takes spicy soup in Toronto to another level.
At last, the wait is over. After years of holding our breath for Canada's first Eataly, the Italian food emporium has finally opened in the Manulife Centre.
Robots serving you hot pot in Richmond Hill—what a dream. This chain has been around since 1988 but last month marked the brand's first location in Canada ever.
Forget pork katsu. A restaurant dedicated entirely to panko-covered beef has nestled near Yonge and Dundas, bringing a trend on-the-rise directly from Kyoto to our city.
Sitting above the downtown location of Konjiki ramen is this restaurant that deals exclusively in crispy tempura. The brand's been around in Japan for 120 years, though this iteration is pretty new.
We don't get new Caribbean chains often, and certainly none that are as famous as this Jamaican brand, which first launched in 1980 with its renowned patties. Find their jerk chicken meals on Wilson Ave.
Who would have thought cheese and tea would become as popular as it is today? This chain from Taiwan is reveling in cheese foamy goodness in cute bottles with its first Canadian location at Yonge and Wellesley.
Toronto is now the only Canadian home to this vegan fast-casual chain, which arrived in North York about a month ago with tempeh bample bacon burgers and poutine, minus the cheese curds.
Opening up in Scarborough Town Cetnre without much fanfare is this Chongqing-based brand that offers up luxury combs for your luscious locks.
North America's first-ever Garfield-themed restaurant on Bloor Street was a bit of hit and miss, but nevertheless, a first. I guess pizzas made in the shape of the 40-year-old cartoon cat isn't everyone's thing.
Epic bubble tea milkshakes have been around in Taiwan since 2015. Four years later it's finally arrived in North America with a shop on Queen West.
Also known as the Starbucks of bubble tea is this Pacific Mall newbie, (yet another Taiwanese transplant) which is actually called Kung Fu Tea, to the chagrin (and, likely, coincidence) of the Toronto-based brand of the same name.
A massive expansion on the part of this Taiwanese tea chain included three new locations this summer, where it's been serving fresh fruit teas and housemade tapioca since.
Hailing from Calgary is this casual cafe at Yonge and College, where folks can grab healthy bowls, elixir lattes and avocado toasts for the road.
It may not be in Toronto proper, but this outdoorsy brand catering to the Canadian lifestyle has finally opened a store in Canada, albeit in Oakville. Here's to rocking Bean Boots all year long.
Taking over Chinatown's Jackpot Chicken Rice earlier this year is this Chinese chain which specializes in Yunnan-style rice noodles and their famous Crossing Bridge dish.
It seems Toronto's love for matcha isn't going anywhere. Hawaiian brand Matcha STand Maiko knows this, which is why they opened a shop in Markham selling their premium green tea goods.
Hector Vasquez at Golden Krust
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