The new TABLE Fare + Social concept at CIBC SQUARE in downtown Toronto has become the latest sensation for the city’s dining scene with more establishments coming.
“The integration with the Park (an elevated green space) was really key for us. We wanted to create an elevated experience both figuratively and literally,” said Avi Behar, Chairman & CEO | Broker at The Behar Group Realty Inc. “Because it is situated prominently on the fourth level, in the heart of downtown Toronto, the vistas are unparalleled.
“It’s kind of magical up there.”
He said the idea was to establish a unique concept and not duplicate the typical food courts that people might see in the PATH system.
“We wanted to create some uniqueness” said Behar. “As a result, we targeted established restaurateurs who are known for the high quality and calibre of their food and operations but who have also proved to be able to deliver high volumes at peak periods which we know a food hall such as this will deliver.
“Most of the groups have anywhere from one to four or five operations elsewhere. For the most part, we’ve sourced Toronto-based groups, however we’ve also secured some brands that are national and global.”
The Behar Group has been involved since the infancy of the food hall project a few years ago.
The fourth floor of Tower One at CIBC SQUARE flows into the Park and into the fourth level of Tower Two.
“That’s intended to create an unmatched experience, weaving together entertainment, food & beverage, community engagement, programmability and activation,” said Behar. “That was really the objective – to have a charming north lobby so that when people reach the fourth level via the PATH system or otherwise, they’re instantly engaged and siphoned into multiple environments which include the relatively newly opened Dineen Coffee Shop and Bar in the lobby, the curated Park, a signature format, larger restaurant that’s yet to open and the food hall.
“It’s a very animated, activated level, filled with energy.”
“Our role included the establishment of target tenant categories and an overall merchandising mix, evaluating design and layouts, and forecasting revenues,” said Behar.
“In terms of the merchandising mix, we established a list of categories in food operations that we thought would resonate best for the buildings themselves and the larger ecosystem in the heart of downtown Toronto.
“In this case we decided to do a few interesting things. Part of our approach was oversizing the kiosks. In typical food courts, kiosks range around 300 square feet give or take. These ones are mostly 500 to 600 square feet and what we wanted to do was create better kitchens, more space for the food operators and the chefs and kind of embrace the theatre of cuisine where patrons can see food being made. We upsized the kiosks and we took the approach of establishing fewer operators and giving each of those operators more space.
“Whereas many food halls have 20 kiosks or more, TABLE Fare + Social has 13, with more seating than a typical food hall globally would have. Fewer kiosks. More seats per kiosk. And more bathrooms.”
The food hall area is about 40,000 square feet and the signature restaurant which is outside of that box is about 10,000 square feet. That restaurant is under construction and officials have not yet released its name. Besides the Park, there is also a patio as part of the project.
The project is opening in phases.
The vendors that are currently open besides Dineen include:
- In Good Spirits: In Good Spirits (IGS) aims to bring a top-bar experience to the masses through remarkable hospitality, inspired cocktails, and delicious cuisine. IGS serves a French-inspired food menu with a dash of Spanish influence, including cocktails, beer, wine, and coffee, accompanied by shareable bites and gourmet choux bun sandwiches, all with exciting flavour combinations to savour;
- Friday Burger: Every Friday Burger is handcrafted, fresh, and made with the highest quality ingredients. Friday Burger offers traditional and plant-based options, chicken sandwiches, limited edition features, and every accompaniment you’re craving to enhance the experience;
- Chaiyo by Pai: Chaiyo by PAI expands beyond their Northern Thai roots to showcase the Thai street market culture and the nostalgic dishes that Chef Nuit misses and remembers from the markets in Thailand. Within the food hall located in the new CIBC SQUARE, Chaiyo by PAI offers fresh and authentic Thai food in a fun and unique Thai market experience; and
- Misoya: Ramen Misoya is a Japanese noodle house that specializes in miso ramen. The menu here offers the usual fare of Japanese noodles and sides but with a strong focus on one main ingredient: miso.
CIBC SQUARE, a joint development of Ivanhoé Cambridge and Hines, is located on Bay Street south of Front Street.
TABLE is easily accessible via the rail hub, PATH, and Scotiabank Arena.
Behar said three other concepts, soon to be four, are under construction at the food hall. The hope is that they will open before the end of the year.