wren toronto

Popular restaurant in Toronto reopens but orders are by phone and e-transfer only

As Toronto remains in lockdown, and as the continued financial strain of the pandemic exposes cracks in the scant infrastructure put in place to support small local businesses, many establishments are having to make sacrifices to stay afloat.

The Wren on Danforth East made the choice this week to begin offering take out, after what seems to be great deliberation and under pressure of the need to keep the business alive.

“Food to go was never our focus, but here we are and we want to keep the lights on!” reads the post announcing the decision on The Wren’s Facebook page.

Accordingly, the restaurant will be accepting orders only over the phone, and payments only through e-transfers.

Before quarantine days, The Wren offered something more than food: “Seeing the draught board and the new beers you haven’t tried, asking the staff about the special, the room’s signature smell of wood and deep-fried. Food to go was never our focus,” the post reads. It was about a holistic experience at The Wren, feeding all the senses.

But take-out strips the experience down to bare transaction, something that is relatively new to the seven-year-old spot whose website directs users to its Facebook page for menu updates.

“We’ve been in business for a while but this is totally new to us, so there will be hiccups and a bit of a learning curve,” their post reads.

While the choice to go with e-transfers as a way of payment may not be the most accessible for all customers, it was made for customers’ sake. “To keep a safe distance from the public,” the restaurant told blogTO over Facebook Messenger.

But this method might change as the days go by, “if we figure out a relatively safe way to do credit card payment,” they said. But they haven’t reached this point as of yet.

We always believed the best way to enjoy The Wren was to come in. Seeing the draught board and the new beers you haven’t tried, asking the staff about the special, the room’s signature smell of wood and deep-fried. Food to go was never our focus, but here we are and we want to keep the lights on! So this week we’re going to start take-out! Thursday-Saturday. Call-in & pick-up only. (647) 748-1382. Payment by e-transfer only. We’re figuring this out as we go so please bear with us! Here’s how it’ll go: 1. Call between 4:30-7:30 to place an order. You’ll find our take-out menu on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Please have your order ready to go so we can serve as many people as possible. 2. We’ll give you a total. You etransfer that amount to thewrentogo@gmail.com. Once your payment is received, we start your order. 3. 30 minutes after we receive payment you come to pick it up. Call when you get here or flag one of us down through the window. We’ll bring your order to the patio and leave it on the bench. Once we’re out of the way, you grab it. Simple, right? Guaranteed hiccup-free? Doubtful. We’ve been in business for a while but this is totally new to us, so there will be hiccups and a bit of a learning curve. But we believe this is the best way to get you some grub and a little taste of The Wren while keeping everyone as safe as possible. We’re going to offer a limited menu of mostly classics and stuff we think will hold up best in take-out containers. We’re also going to offer ‘family meals’ (or just hungry person meals?) for 4 that you can heat up at home. These will last in your refrigerator for a few days. And of course we’ll have a few local beer options you can add to your order. Again, this is a work in progress so it may change and evolve once we sort out the kinks. We may eventually be able to offer more stuff that makes being cooped up at home more fun, but for now we’re going to keep it simple in order to keep our offerings at their best. But you can expect small menu changes week to week. Hope to hear from you soon!

A post shared by The Wren (@thewrendanforth) on

Response from customers under the post are enthusiastic, full of people who are happy to have the option of grabbing a bite of the good old before-quarantine days — even if it isn’t the whole experience, it might comfort anxieties about the present.

“We’re just testing the waters,” The Wren said. “Lots of kinks to sort out.”

Lead photo by

The Wren


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