A new storefront from the Ascari Group at 1091 Queen St. E. will be open this spring. Ascari Mercatino e Vini will sell specialty pantry items, have an extensive and exclusive wine list, and serve food to go or to eat (pandemic-permitting) inside while sipping an espresso counter-side.
Co-owner Erik Joyal describes the new spaces as a “boutique, wine store, prepared food store, wine bar, and cafe.” In short, the new shop will be an extension of what the Ascari Enoteca spot is currently.
“Ascari Enoteca, down the street on the other corner, for the past six months has been this little shop with prepared foods and meal kits and lots of great wine and cocktails and a few specialty grocery items,” Joyal says. “But, it’s [Ascari Enoteca] a small little restaurant, so when it reopens we can’t continue to give our clients that retail experience, it won’t work.”
Looking ahead to the restaurant’s eventual reopening, the restaurateurs found an opportunity to pivot creatively and took it.
“We had the opportunity to take over the space that’s just down the street on the other corner, so we did that with the view of continuing that retail experience,” Joyal says.
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The new Ascari concept needs to be flexible to accommodate Ontario COVID measures, and it does just that.
“It will be open during the day, there will be sandwiches and charcuterie and a couple of tables and a patio and a little bar where you can crack open a bottle of wine or have a sandwich or take something out of the fridge. It’s a hybrid wine bar, wine store, food retail space,” Joyal says.
Joyal isn’t sure when the new spot will open but says they’re thinking sometime in April might be a good target.
“There’s no point in opening now, so we’re going to wait until the restrictions are lifted,” Joyal says.
The brick-and-mortar version of Ascari Mercatino e Vini will also be an extension of the existing e-commerce platform by the same name. All of the items available through the store will also be ready for pick-up or next-day delivery through the website at mercatinovini.com.