When the announcement that Toronto would finally be allowed to move into Stage 2 of re-opening was made, the team at the L-eat Group and Paese Ristorante created a plan to transform their large empty parking lot into a massive outdoor dining and entertaining experience — with not just one concept but two!
Paese has added some special touches, including custom in-house built cedar planters filled with flowers and greenery, a wall of evergreen trees and lattice privacy screens to shield diners from the street noise.
The summer menu features all of the usual favourites including thin crust pizzas, housemade fresh pastas, summer salads, whole fish, veal scaloppini and many more “inspired in Italy, made in Canada” dishes.
In the coming weeks, as the tomatoes, cucumbers, squash and other veggies in their urban garden ripen, guests will be able to enjoy Paese’s interpretation of ‘farm to table’ dining with their daily special featuring produce picked next door that same day. Tours of the garden are available anytime — while you sip your glass of chilled rosé!
Tables are appropriately spaced for physical distancing, sanitized between every seating and pleasantly shaded by modern grey patio umbrellas. The yellow parking spot lines are the only remaining reminder that you are, in fact, dining on a parking lot!
The second concept is anchored by a shipping container kitchen, furnished with picnic tables and benches, surrounded by wood planters with flowers and fresh herbs, cedar trees, bright green Steam Whistle umbrellas and a canopy of globe string lights. The atmosphere is that of a cosy, comfortable beer garden that says, “Let’s hang out here for the day.”
The menu is a combination of barbecue favourites including burgers, sausages, steak sandwiches, ribs, truck style fries, veggie-rich power bowls with optional add-ons, smoothies and iced coffees. At the bar there is a large assortment of ice cold tall cans (beer and coolers), bottles of wine and their signature blended frosé.
As these uncertain times continue to unfold, this team is continuously evaluating what ways they can further serve their community. Next up will be a return of their popular streetside farmers’ market sharing the best of Ontario’s produce with the neighbourhood. And the catering team is at the forefront of working on how the city can safely begin to entertain on a larger scale again.