Pablo Cheese Tart Chain Expanding with New Locations in Canada: Interview

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The unique Pablo Cheese Tart concept, featuring Japanese pastries, desserts and baked goods, continues to expand its footprint across Canada.

Hugo Lin, the company’s President, said Pablo Cheese Tart is planning to have a variety of options for the consumer.

“Mainly we make pastries. We originated in Japan in Osaka. The CEO actually started the company around 2010. What we sell basically is cheese tarts and anything related to cheese,” said Lin.

“The name actually comes from Pablo Picasso. The thing is that food can be a type of art as well. It’s not just about the taste but also the presentation. That’s why he uses the name.”

The company began in Canada in 2017 with a location on Dundas Street in downtown Toronto, which was recently announced to be closing as of January 22nd. Currently, the pastry shop has four locations in Toronto, Calgary, Edmonton and Hamilton.

The company is planning to open a new location in Markham in March followed by one in the Newmarket/Aurora area in July. It is currently confirming the location for that site. Pablo has a location secured in Vancouver with an opening in July this year. There is also a site in Saskatoon that will open by the end of this year.

Lin said the company is planning to expand its offering of products with more Japanese pastries, desserts and baked goods. 

“In terms of future expansion, a US store was supposed to be opening last year before the pandemic started but after the pandemic everything had to be paused because of logistics and everything,” said Lin.

Pablo Cheese Tart on Dundas Street in Toronto (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“But once the pandemic is over we want to resume the opening for the US side as soon as possible. In Canada, we are hoping to place a couple of more stores in Winnipeg and Montreal. We import some of our ingredients directly from Japan so after the pandemic started we’ve had a lot of logistics issues. So we want to make sure that all stores that we open would basically have no issues regarding the inventory or the ingredients. It will take time for us to make sure that we won’t have any problems.”

Lin said the concept resonates with consumers because it is different from the desserts or pastries that we traditionally have in Canada and North America.

“Our main goal, or focus, is to basically have a lighter texture of the dessert so you can actually eat more instead of feeling guilty and very full after eating the dessert. That’s why we tend to go with a lighter texture but still enjoy the dessert.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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