Nestled between the homestyle meatloaf and fluffy pancakes, Ten Friends Diner has something very different on the menu. More than a family-friendly restaurant, Ten Friends is a nonprofit organization that works with those recovering from mental illness in order to help them find their place in the community once again. They specifically hire mental-health survivors in order to give them a safe space to learn new skills and regain their footing—they even have facilitators on staff to help with the adjustment. Customers who eat there can rest assured that not only will they receive a great meal, but that they're helping their community, too. At the cozy diner, staff chefs treat visitors to freshly made meals—from cheesy custom omelettes to juicy burgers. For dessert, they whip up handcrafted baked goods, such as daily pie and muffins.
Upbeat melodies from live musicians travel to each table inside The Mexican Grill on select weekends, blending with the aromas of authentic-style southwestern cuisine. The kitchen staff assembles fresh ingredients into shareable appetizers, dinners, and 14 varieties of burritos. Painted artwork and Mexican flags hang from the casual eatery's colourful walls and serve as a backdrop to events such as Friday karaoke nights, where diners can sing odes to their favourite sombrero and vice versa. To complement meals, servers pour specialty drinks such as sangria and margaritas into giant glasses.
On New Year's Eve of 2007, brothers Dan and Anthony Ferriolo—both graduates of the culinary arts program at St. Clair College—banded together to open Ristorante Avanti, channeling their shared passion for great food and their Italian heritage into a gustatory labour of love. The New Year's Eve kickoff would prove to be the start of seven years of upholding and building upon their original goals of infusing traditional Italian dining with their own creative flair and service-based perfectionism. Amid percolating bubbles floating up from boiling pasta and the sizzle of sautéing scallops in the kitchen, Anthony helms a team of chefs who meticulously construct dishes from ingredients such as littleneck clams and fresh tomato sauce. With his brother commanding the kitchen, Dan lets his friendly disposition steer the front of the house, making everyone feel welcome. The feeling of warmth he puts out is extended by the dining room’s rustic-chic ambience brought about by gold- and brown-toned decor and gleaming copper accents on candelabra-style lighting.
Hecklers beware: Rockhead Pub's Comedy Quarry doesn't like you. The venue embraces comedians and the audiences who love them, but will use a giant stage hook to remove anyone who attempts to ruin the night with their own untested musings. Because of this, crowds can bask in the sharp witticisms of regional, national, and international stand-ups without interruption. The club gives back in other ways, too—it hosts fundraising shows for local charities and Twitter caption contests for its followers.
Since 1918, Blak’s Bakery has prepared a large variety of sweet and savory baked goods with care and ages-old know-how. Although the bakery is small in size, it is known for boxing approximately 24,000 paczki per year on Fat Tuesday—a feat that earned the attention of CBC News. In addition to paczki, the bakers create an array of goodies, such as mincemeat pies, 9-inch cakes, and breads, which are baked in the original 1918 Peterson brick-hearth oven instead of on the engine block of an overheated car.
The chefs—with a combined 70 years of experience—at Buon Giorno Bistro prepare classic Italian dishes such as chicken parmigiana baked with mozzarella cheese and tomato sauce and veal crema sautéed in a wine and cream sauce. Patrons enjoy pizza made with fresh ingredients in a casual atmosphere in a fine-dining district.