the new local toronto

The New Local is Toronto's new dinner with a show experience

Toronto just got a brand new dinner theatre, and the best part is, it's all virtual and live streamed.

The New Local was created by husband and wife show business performers Gabi Epstein and Jeremy Lapalme in May, and they've been partnering with local restaurants to deliver dinners and put on virtual shows every month since.

"We started The New Local back in May initially as a way to continue to create art and entertain while supporting some of the local establishments in our community during this difficult time," says Epstein.

"We are both self-employed performing artists having performed in plays and musicals at Stratford, Mirvish, Stage West, Drayton, as well as our own cabaret at 120 Diner and the Jazz Bistro."

So far they've sent out dinners from Relish, East Toronto Coffee Co. and Oak Park Deli, and the next one will be from Kababia. You can choose from dinner options for two, four or six people, delivery or gratuity included, and delivery range is from Carlaw to Main and O'Connor to Dundas.

For the upcoming show, you can choose from options like falafel, kebab or shawarma served with garlic potatoes, salad, rice, hummus, pita, tahini and hot sauce.

The way it works is, when your dinner is delivered you unpack it and enjoy in front of your streaming entertainment; like Netflix and chill, but hyper-local.

"Our shows usually get about 20 different households watching per show which as we all know is anywhere from one to four people per household. Our shows are over Zoom so that audiences can see and interact with each other," says Epstein.

"We open the link, AKA doors, half hour before the show so, just like in a theatre or club, people can meet and chat and, in our case, talk about the food they are eating. Our restaurant partners work with us to create a special dinner for two menu per event."

She says it's one of these partners that gave them the idea for their project's name.

"Relish gave us the idea for our name. They used to be in a smaller location just around the corner from us at Danforth and Cedarvale. They were our favourite local establishment. When they moved we wondered what our new local would be. Turns out the answer was us," says Epstein.

You can even request songs in advance of the show, and after the show there's an "after party" where Epstein and Lapalme join their guests for a post-show "cheers" and Q&A.

"In the fall we hope to expand to other communities to provide entertainment to celebrate their own local establishments," says Epstein.

Tickets can be purchased by email, and their next show "Sounds of Summer" featuring Kababia is Aug. 19 at 7 p.m.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez 

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