oakwood hardware toronto

Toronto neighbourhood is trying to help local restaurant survive

A local Toronto restaurant that's become a hub in its neighbourhood now needs help to survive, and the surrounding community is pitching in.

Oakwood Hardware has been a part of the Oakwood Village area since 2016.

It's known for its head chef and owner Anne Sorrenti, who herself is a proactive member of the community whether it's running her seasonal restaurant or helping out those in need.

Unfortunately it wasn't long after the restaurant opened that they suffered a devastating fire, after which they struggled to reopen for 18 months. Just nine months after that, they were slammed by lockdowns.

When they were allowed to fully reopen in spring 2022, they asked unvaccinated people to eat outside based on an honour system, a decision the neighbourhood majorly praised.

Now, a GoFundMe seeking to support the restaurant after this rough period informs people that Sorrenti unfortunately continues to struggle, with physical injuries making getting the restaurant back on its feet even more difficult.

"The Oakwood Hardware is more than just a restaurant, it's an anchor business and a place for the community to meet," reads the GoFundMe page organized by Gabbie Douglas, who's been working at Oakwood Hardware for the past couple months.

"Anne created this restaurant to give something back to her community. Now we are asking you to give back to her. We have a goal of fundraising $20,000 to help pay off the outstanding expenses born by the fire and the pandemic and Anne's physical injuries. Any and all donations would be greatly appreciated."

The fundraiser was just created over the Thanksgiving long weekend, and has raised around $2,000 of its goal so far.

"We're not fully back to dining like we used to be. As a social species we don't go out as much as we did before," Douglas tells blogTO.

"It's a culmination of a lot of different things that is preventing Anne from getting caught up. And because of that, Anne specifically, but the staff as well, carry a lot of stress. So the main reason as a staff we decided to start the fundraiser is that things have become so dire that we really needed to reach out to the community to restore our hope and get Anne back on her feet."

She says even after just a couple days, people have been sharing and donating to the fundraiser a lot, and thinks they're only getting started. They're hoping to use the money to simply help Anne get caught up, pay for rising food costs and help contribute to events they want to put on.

"Coming to support the restaurant whenever you can, signing up for our newsletter so that you're being kept up to date with what's happening and honestly donating anything you can, those are all things that will help the restaurant and Anne thrive moving forward," says Douglas.

"Spreading the message as much as you can, even through word of mouth. Letting people know about the restaurant all across the city who maybe have never heard of us."

If you're interested in coming out and supporting the restaurant in person, their next upcoming event is "Oaktoberfest" on October 15 starting at 3 p.m., a family-friendly event with a beer garden for adults and a root beer garden for kids, plus if you wear dirndl or lederhosen you can win a prize.

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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