wild chicory toronto

Toronto restaurant finally gets its patio and life starts to return to normal

A pair of Toronto restaurants that had been asked to tear down their curbside patio expansion, now have their patios up and running and a sense of normalcy has been restored.

Hazel's Diner and Wild Chicory restaurants were approved in June for Toronto's temporary patio expansion program, but were asked by city bylaw officers to tear down their new outdoor patio anyway.

"We were approved like anyone else and we got excited," said Chris Doyle who is a partner at Wild Chicory.

The restaurants received their acceptance for the CaféTO program on June 24 and were set to open their collaborative, curbside patio on July 1, which was the program's start date.

"We wanted the patio ready to go so right when we got the green light, we started building," Doyle told blogTO. "We didn’t want to miss days of revenue."

The restaurants started construction after getting their approval but bylaw officers told them to take it down and didn’t even give reasons for it, according to Doyle.

"There was a lack of clarity," he said. "Jaye Robinson, our city councillor said it was OK but then the bylaw officers came and said otherwise."

According to Doyle, they found out it was because the city has to come and put cones around the area before construction can start.

"I got frustrated because on Yonge, in Forest Hill and other areas, the cones were up," he said. "It doesn’t sound like a big deal but each day of not being open is a lot in the restaurant industry."

Doyle says the city must put the cones up themselves along with a concrete barrier but they didn’t seem to get the sense of urgency.

"We were sitting here bleeding," he said.

Even though they ended up getting the green light almost two weeks late and were frustrated by the lack of communication, the restaurants now have their patios open.

"We did open up and we've been almost full since," he said. "Even when it’s raining, we had a table still sit outside."

Hazel's Diner is open from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. so they pack up the tables and chairs and focus on Wild Chicory for the night.

"We can only seat six tables of four people each," said Dolye about Wild Chicory’s patio.

But with COVID-restrictions such as contactless payment and extra sanitization, which take extra time, resources, and even staff, they couldn't really accommodate more people anyway.

Their customers are responsive to the new safety procedures and are just happy to be back at the restaurant's patio.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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