crate challenge

Toronto restaurants and cafes are getting in on the milk crate challenge meme

The crate challenge: you've probably seen it, and now Toronto businesses are getting in on it.

Local businesses often jump on social media trends as a means of promotion: remember when everyone was photoshopping a grumpy Bernie Sanders into their storefronts?

The crate challenge involves (rather dangerously) stacking milk crates into a pyramid formation and trying to run up and down it, typically resulting in violently hilarious failure.

Posts by Toronto's Heartbreak Chef and Sam James Coffee Bar don't show anyone attempting the stunt, and Heartbreak owner Jerome Robinson admits his post was all PR.

"We just had a bunch of crates stored up from all our deliveries," Robinson tells blogTO.

"We have about 50 of them we've been trying to get rid of. We never did any type of challenge, just thought it would be fun to post something related to it."

Heartbreak Chef is known for fried chicken and mac n' cheese, and their crate challenge post shows some of their popular fried chicken sandwiches stacked up on a pyramid of crates.

Swipe to the next slide, and you'll get a sort of skit with Robinson splayed in the middle of the crates as if he's just fallen off them, a sandwich in his hand and sauce on his face.

"I had this horrible dream just now," says Robinson. "I dreamed I was the owner of Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken and Chen Chen's and I was serving mediocre chicken to people."

The attention grab certainly got the desired result with around 2,785 likes and 255 comments, including a playful response from Tokyo Hot Fried Chicken.

"LMFAOOOOOOO IM CRYING," they wrote, along with "@chenchenshotchicken take a listen to this guy."

Lots of other chefs and food lovers commented on the post expressing how hilarious it was. Still, Robinson remains humble.

"As funny as some of the posts can be, it is extremely dangerous. So I advised my staff not to actually do it," says Robinson. 

"We like to poke fun at this stuff sometimes. I'm sure this will die down in a week or so."

Sam James Coffee Bar, a popular indie chain of espresso bars, is participating in the meme as well but in perhaps a more simplistic way, also racking up lots of likes and comments, and also not putting anyone in harm's way.

"Like all good memes, it wasn't meant to be taken seriously. The milk crate challenge is silly, but I love stupid jokes," SJCB owner Sam James tells blogTO. "For us this was more like a sculpture, no one walked on it."

They posted a photo of a pyramid of crates outside the entrance to one of their cafes with the caption, "TO FUCK AROUND IS TO BE HUMAN.....TO FIND OUT, IS DIVINE." Enough said.

"I think milk crates are the people's patio. I've always loved them. They are the perfect utility item, they hold records and make a good seat," says James.

"We always have milk crates because we're a coffee shop, so when I saw all my favorite skateboard pages post about this challenge, I had to reference the joke."

Lead photo by

Sam James Coffee Bar


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