Staff at Toronto restaurant launch new company while closed due to lockdowns
Hospitality staff who have been involved with some of Toronto's most high-end restaurants have turned what used to be side projects into a full-on business, almost accidentally.
Twists of fate led multiple people at Peer to Peer Hospitality Group, which has overseen restaurants like Tanto and Chabrol, to create design and build company BLDRZ.
The business does small renovations, as well as larger scale commercial or residential design and build projects.
The construction company "was born out of years of experience designing and building restaurants both for ourselves and our industry friends," according to Alex Nica of BLDRZ, who's concerned that "maybe restaurants, as we know them, have no place in the future."
Tanto was closed for indoor dining for over a year, unfortunately deciding to open up for the first time since March 2020 in a new space where their project Super Empanada used to be in November 2021, just a few weeks before the latest lockdown came into effect.
For the group, it echoed the way the first lockdown had come into effect just as they were hoping to open the new location of Chabrol.
"We seemed to be completing a cycle, and it was heartbreaking to lay off our staff during the holiday season," Nica tells blogTO. "We didn't know how long we could survive a lockdown and whether we could ever open our doors again."
Since the most recent lockdown, they've closed Tanto back up for all business except private catering, and won't "reopen for indoor dining this time around until there is certainty that we can operate without restrictions long-term," according to Nica.
"Because of this uncertainty, a few of us who were interested in design and construction and had worked on rebuilding Tanto decided to give the construction business a try," says Nica.
They started out with two small renovations on short-term rentals, but quickly secured a larger commercial project. The business is already expanding, bringing on subcontractors and working on retail and commercial building partnerships.
The company currently services the GTA, and if you're interested in a free consultation with people who have designed some of the city's hottest restaurants, you can email them or fill out a form on their site.
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