dinetogether toronto

Toronto's new DineTOgether restaurant program is like Summerlicious only cheaper

In an effort to help Toronto's beleaguered restaurant industry get back on its feet after more than a year of unprecedented losses due to pandemic closures, the city is launching a brand new program to stimulate the economy — as well as our appetites.

DineTOgether, unveiled by city officials on Wednesday, will run for two weeks this fall: From Friday, Sept. 17 until Sunday, Oct. 3.

The program is part of the city's ShowLoveTO initiative and is meant to "showcase the breadth and diversity of Toronto's restaurants and encourage residents to patronize local eateries through a feature menu available by takeout, delivery patio dining and/or indoor dining."

Participating restaurants will be able to offer up prix-fixe feature menus for lunch and/or dinner, each consisting of two courses (one main dish and either an appetizer or dessert).

"Think of it as an updated and reinvented Winterlicious or Summerlicious type of program," said Toronto Mayor John Tory when announcing the news during a press conference on Wednesday.

"But the bottom line is the same, which is to show support for our restaurant and hospitality businesses after a period in which they have been very hard hit."

With Summerlicious cancelled this year (like so many other major events), DineTOgether fills an important void — and hungry patrons won't have to shell out as much money to get in on the fun, either.

As part of the new program, feature menu prices will start at just $15 a pop and go up to $50 in $5 increments. Prices are per person, of course, and do exclude beverages, taxes and gratuities, but the entry point is significantly less than what was seen last Summerlicious ($33 minimum for dinner, $23 for lunch).

To make it even easier for businesses to benefit from DineTOgether, the city will not be charging a participation fee to restaurants, though they must still meet "minimal eligibility criteria" including the possession of a Green DineSafe pass and standard licenses for eating establishments.

"DineTOgether will support the recovery of local restaurants and celebrate Toronto's diverse culinary scene," said Tory on Wednesday during the city's 186th (and last ever) regular COVID-19 update.

"As you know, the restaurant sector is among those hardest hit by the pandemic," the mayor continued. "Toronto's food and hospitality industry is a very important one to us, employing thousands and thousands of people."

We don't yet have details regarding which restaurants are participating and what their limited-edition feature menus will look like, as the program was just announced, but interested businesses register for the program beginning at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 4.

The city will be releasing a list of participating restaurants and their menus sometime this September.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim at Scaramouche

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