coo cafe bread rice toronto

Toronto restaurant permanently closed due to lockdown and staffing issues

A Toronto restaurant that closed down abruptly has now already become something totally different.

The menu at COO Cafe Bread or Rice was tied together with delicious comforting carbs, most items involving rice or bread. Think lobster sauce omurice, sandwiches and Eggs Benny brunches, tied together by French-Japanese inspiration.

The restaurant had posted their holiday hours toward the end of 2021, but then at the beginning of 2022 announced they'd be closing for good. They've been open for six years.

"Today is the date to announce the permanent closure of COO," reads a letter posted to the restaurant's social media in a video on Jan. 23 (their last day open), signed by chef Nagi and manager Chiaki.

"This is not the end, just ending up the first chapter."

COO will be continuing on solely as a catering business.

"As you may know, we closed our restaurant last the end of January in Toronto," reads the COO website. "Now, we are ready to do it. All our energy and passion are filling up to cook and share Chef Nagisa Hashimoto's menu."

The space where COO used to be is now home to new sushi restaurant Hana.

"Chiaki, my wife and co-owner, and Nagi, me, owner-chef, did not give notice about our closure much to our customers. We only intimately told about it," Hashimoto tells blogTO. "The date was not too busy, quietly done. Of course, a little emotional day for us to see the end."

Business had slowed at COO due to lockdowns, and the restaurant was also struggling with staffing issues.

"That made it harder for a small restaurant. Besides, we are not young anymore. Fiscally running a restaurant was getting tough day by day, cooking, prepping, serving, cleaning up, shopping around, managing accounts and raising our family," says Hashimoto.

"Eventually, we would like to find a new location for a small cafe, not a restaurant, slash catering joint. That is our goal for now."

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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