bar ape toronto

Toronto gelato joint is so popular it can't fully open yet

Imagine being so popular and so neighbourly that the only reason you haven't fully reopened your doors is because you know you'll be so busy and don't want to disturb your neighbours?

Bar Ape, a small gelato shop on Rushton Road, does not plan to open "normally" during Stage 3, even though it's legally allowed, because in compliance with social distancing measures, their lines outside would go down their residential Rushton block.

The gelato outlet said in an Instagram post that they don't think it's fair to do that to their neighbours so they will continue to operate at the same pace they have been, focusing on online orders.

"The problem is that with social distancing our line spans three times longer than it normally would. If we were open, every night our line would eventually cover the length of our residential Rushton block," the post said.

"We would take over the whole sidewalk and we’d be in front of everyone's houses for 2 hours every single night. It's not fair to do that to our neighbours."

Nick Genova, one of the owners of Bar Ape, told blogTO that because he and co-owner James Carnevale know a lot of their neighbours, it would be a "bad look" to open and they didn't want to become a nuisance in the neighbourhood.

"People like us right now and I don't want to change that for reasons that aren't worth it," Genova says. "It's more a case of sacrificing some profits for the greater good of our business.”

"It's actually funny," says Genova. "If this was three years ago, we could open because there weren’t as many people coming here."

"It's kind of our popularity that's making it that we can't open," he said. "The amount of people that would be here now - we just can’t control that anymore."

The gelato shop has been doing takeout since the pandemic hit, focusing on selling things in bulk so there's "less people per transaction," according to Genova.

"We also wanted to limit people coming to the shop at once to pick up their orders," he said.

Their takeout service which was focusing on selling boxes of gelato bars once a week to local customers was working so well they decided to add another pickup day and sell their fresh product.

"Going for ice cream is usually more spontaneous and not something you schedule the day before," Genova said.

But the idea is working and their customers have adapted to this new business model.

They limit the number of orders they can receive in a day in order to manage the lines and people coming in and out of their shop.

Now there's a reason to look forward to Mondays - fresh serving day at Bar Ape and according to Genova, the gelato shop won’t be fully reopening anytime soon so this will be the only way to get your gelato-fix.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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