woofdawg toronto

Toronto business helping to rebuild restaurant that suffered a devastating fire

A Toronto cafe is now lending a helping hand in a big way to a restaurant that recently suffered a horrible fire.

Woofdawg on Dundas West has been shut down ever since a fire torched the restaurant, leaving people longing for their loaded hot dogs and Italian beef sandwiches from their other concept, Frank Ranalli's.

A GoFundMe was quickly set up by Woofdawg owner Stephen Payne's mother, but now someone not related by blood is trying to help them rebuild in a different way.

Pow Wow Cafe, known for its Indigenous-style tacos, is offering up its space in Kensington Market to Woofdawg so they can do pop-ups out of a physical storefront to help raise money to get back on their feet.

"All of his sales will go towards rebuilding his restaurant which unfortunately had a fire last month," reads a social media post from Pow Wow.

"I heard that Woofdawg had a fire and just want to help a friend out," Pow Wow owner Shawn Adler tells blogTO.

"While I'm currently operating Pow Wow Cafe fairly sporadically I thought Stephen can use the space to keep his business alive and to raise funds for his either rebuild or whatever his amazing business transitions into."

Adler is also hoping to raffle off a Pow Wow Cafe gift bag with items like coffee from Indigenous-owned coffee company Birch Bark Coffee.

"Who knows, there might be more things we can do as well," says Adler.

He thinks Woofdawg might be popping up at the Pow Wow space as early as this weekend, as Pow Wow isn't planning on being open then.

"Stephen and I have been friends for quite a few years. We originally met while we were both food vendors at a music festival," says Adler.

"Anyhow we both do the music festival circuit every summer food vending, so many weekends throughout summer we get to hang out at work, but also have so many things in common, both being in the restaurant game but also living the life of a nomad every summer."

Woofdawg is already making progress on their GoFundMe having raised about $15,000 of a $25,000 goal, so for the sake of hot dog lovers in Toronto let's hope they're able to swiftly reach $25K and start rebuilding.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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