Toronto’s most famous street is lined with local stores and shopkeepers, both old and new. We popped in to find out a little more about these Yonge Street staples and how they’ve found their own secret to success.
Robyn Coffey started baking her fabulous chocolate chip cookies many years ago, and they were so popular she opened her little shop, nestled on Ranleigh Avenue behind Melonhead on Yonge, where they’ve been ever since! Sue Corbett bought the business in 2016, and ensures the same high quality that customers expect, while expanding the cookie offerings. They also bake custom order cookies for special events like weddings, birthdays, graduations and baby showers! One of the best hidden secrets in Toronto, all treats are handmade in the shop. Best sellers include Chocolate Chip, Junk-in-the-Trunk, Salted Chocolate Chunk and Chewy Fraktals. They mix it up with a Cookie of the Week, and always have something new coming out of the oven! In warmer weather, try refreshing hand made ice creams in amazing flavours like Butter crunch, Lemon, Strawberry Basil, and Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, which always pair perfectly with their cookies! Their famous Chocolate Chip put the shop on the map, and it keeps customers coming back! The Cookie shop only uses the finest, purest ingredients; no additives — you can taste the difference! The cookies, squares, and loaves are always fresh and delicious. Sue says they like to treat every customer as a friend, so pop in for a cookie and a chat!
3215 Yonge Street • 416 489 8497
Chris and Carrie came up with the idea for a high end pub back in the nineties, before “gastropub” was even in our vocabulary. They enjoyed the fun comfortable atmosphere of a pub, but craved creative house made dishes of high quality ingredients… and good wines! The Abbot opened in May of 2000 to a packed house. The Yonge-Lawrence area was obviously the right fit for this concept. The restaurant business is notoriously difficult but it comes naturally to Chris and Carrie, both have been in the business since they were teenagers. They claim their success is due to great staff and wonderful customers. The Abbot team knows about quality service. The kitchen crew is extremely talented, elevating traditional dishes into great meals, and the floor staff is professional, while excellent at making you feel like part of the family. A neighbourhood restaurant is measured by its regular clientele. “Many of our customers have been coming in since day one. Some couples even met here and now they bring their children,” says owner Chris Davis. The Abbot has been proudly serving fresh homemade comfort food to Lawrence Park for 19 years and is still going strong!
3367 Yonge Street • 416 544 9074
After graduating from fashion design school, Paola opened Paola Di in 1985, with her mother, Elsa. In a small space in Woodbridge, they began selling their own designs, as well as couture wedding and evening dresses. By 1989, the business grew and moved to the Yonge Street location. There they began selling ready-to-wear from Europe, as well as Canadian and U.S. designers. Over 20 years later, they are still here, because their keen sense of style, appeals to a large array of clients. Hand-picking interesting pieces from a vast selection of lines keeps the store unique, and filled with many hidden treasures. Paola Di carries everything from jeans and tee-shirts, to long evening gowns. Accessories and shoes also play an important role in finishing the outfit of a Paola Di customer. They attribute their success to the personal customer service they give to each of their clients, putting together outfits that are appropriate and on the cutting edge of fashion. Canada’s Fashion Guru, Jeanne Beker has included Paola Di in her list of favourite fashion boutiques and Rita Zekas of the Toronto Star wrote, “Intermix meets tres chic boutique in the south of France.”
3357 Yonge Street • 416 322 0430
Pho King Fabulous has not only become a staple of the Yonge and Eglinton area, but also now known as one of the very best places in the city to enjoy a hot bowl of pho. Awarded as one of the Top 100 Best Restaurants in the city as well as the top 10 vegan, non-vegan restaurants is a testament to their ultimate commitment to flavour. “Our delicious broth is created by slowly simmering beef and chicken bones for many hours before adding a special selection of spices to bring it all together,” explains owner Kevin Hoang. “This process yields an extremely rich broth that separates our soups from others.” Never resting on his laurels, Hoang states his willingness to adapt to his clientele’s needs, as well as his employees’ suggestions, has been a contributing factor to its success. “Our secret is not really a secret. We keep our customers happy by maintaining a high quality product and providing fast and friendly service. We do make mistakes from time to time, but ultimately strive to not make the same mistakes again.” And it shows as they recently just celebrated their 4th year in the area with no signs of stopping.
2411 Yonge St. • 647 352 5288
Beestung Lingerie owner Aimée Finlay first opened the doors to her store in the uptown Yonge Street community back in 2006. This year she is thrilled to be celebrating her 13th successful year in business. Her continued success, she says, is in large part due to hard work, and the continued support of her patrons of her women-owned and women-run business. Since she first opened her doors, the local community has become much more aware of the importance of shopping locally and supporting local independent retailers, which, she stresses, is so important in keeping the neighbourhood vibrant. Beestung Lingerie recently moved to a new location just a few blocks north but is happy to still be part of the community. Her new location is a gorgeous new space that features three large fitting rooms to better serve her growing clientele. When asked what we can look forward to this summer, Aimée says, “Floral prints are still going strong for Spring 2019. We are seeing the continued bohemian influence in swim and cover-ups. And in lingerie, pretty wearable pinky-nudes dominate and wire-free bralettes are still in high-demand. We are excited to now be offering swim from Canadian luxury line SHAN and Eberjey.”
2624 Yonge Street • 416 481 2849
C’est Bon under went substantial renovations late last summer and although they’ve been enjoying the new interior all winter, soon their customers can begin enjoying the renovated patio again. Everyone is looking forward to enjoying the outside space. Steve Chen and his mother Wonder have been in the restaurant business since 2000. The restaurant’s evolved over the years with the support of their loyal clientele and now specialize in authentic Szechuan cuisine with select popular Thai dishes. Customer favourites are plentiful: General Tsao’s Chicken, Crispy Ginger Beef, Seafood Cantonese Chow Mein and Sweet & Sour Chicken. The restaurant is known for its Basil Chicken which is prepared in a homemade sweet soy sauce with garlic, ginger and garden-fresh basil. Vegetarian customers are in luck as they have a variety of options on the menu to choose from – one of the favourites being a braised tofu dish with shiitake mushroooms. One of the most unique things about the restaurant is the name, C’est Bon, it means “it’s good” in French. It’s quite an unconventional name for a Chinese restaurant but it relates to the greatness of the cuisine and Steve Chen’s Taiwanese-French background.
2685 Yonge Street, north of Eglinton • 416 932 2811