mad dog cafe toronto

Popular cafe and brunch spot closes after 10 years in Toronto

A Toronto cafe has closed and is getting a full makeover and turning into a fancy restaurant with a wine program.

Mad Dog Cafe has been a Leslieville fixture for around 10 years, but closed down when Toronto was first locked down in mid-March. The owner turned the circumstances into an opportunity to make a major change, and turn the space into something called East End Vine.

"He brought me in as his business partner to create a restaurant fit for the area. I am a sommelier and I wanted to open a casual wine focused spot that had a laid-back European countryside vibe," says new partner Ian Stoddart.

"A spot that still held onto the community aspect which the Mad Dog had, but a space that brought new life to the area. A place to go after work to enjoy some tapas and a glass of wine. The space will also have a gourmet goods market of all locally produced goods."

East End Vine is aiming to open around the beginning of December, and will encompass both a daytime market space and an original take on dine-in service.

"The dining experience will be different during COVID. We will be offering private six- to 10-person four-course wine pairing dinners. So your bubble will have the entire restaurant to yourself for two hours. The dinner will be a four-course tapas-style dinner with a wine matched for each course," says Stoddart.

"Our chef and myself will introduce each course with an explanation/ breakdown of why the pairing works, what tastes to focus on, etc. You'll have to reserve in advance and the cost will be a fixed price."

They hope to offer more regular-style dining in the future when concerns around COVID-19 lessen. In the meantime, a private four-course tapas dinner sounds delicious.

Lead photo by

Natalie


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