romero house toronto

Toronto restaurant famous for its brunch is giving free meals to refugees every weekend

Farmhouse Tavern, the Toronto restaurant known for its homey brunches, is now delivering meals to a local charity dedicated to supporting refugees in the city. 

Amidst the lockdown, which has threatened the livelihood of workers and business owners across the board, the farm-to-table restaurant has partnered with Romero House to feed four families every weekend. 

Farmhouse Tavern owner Nancy Thornhill says she first reached out to Romero House in September, in hopes of inviting families staying with Romero House to her restaurant on Dupont Street for weekend meals. 

"Our idea was to just start with brunches," said Thornhill. "Romero House is in our neighbourhood, not far away, and so I was thinking that it would be accessible for the families without having to take the TTC or walk long distances." 

"Then of course we were in lockdown and we couldn't  serve anyone food," she says. "I didn't want to just stop this program so now we're just taking it to the families." 

Romero House, which was founded in 1991 as a support organization for refugee claimants, offers 10 apartments for refugee families. 

Families stay at Romero House's residences for up to a year, while being supported with a variety of programs, celebrating birthdays and Christmas together. The charity takes financial and in-kind donations.

For the Farmhouse Tavern brunch program, four different families weekly can choose items from the restaurant's menu. Thornhill then drives the meals over to the residences herself. 

She says that it's "imperative" that she give where she can. 

Thornhill, who also runs a to-be registered charity called Outlaw Ethics dedicated to feeding refugee and working poor families, admits that many in the restaurant industry are hurting, but says that she's fortunate to be able to volunteer her meals out-of-pocket. 

"We're all struggling, but some of us are struggling a little bit less," she says.

"Even though it's a task in ingenuity and creativity to keep my doors open, I'm still not struggling to eat every day," she says. "We’re the lucky ones and we need to share."

Lead photo by

Romero House

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