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In January 2020, popular Asian supermarket T&T shut down its only downtown Toronto location on Cherry Street. Over a year and a half later though, the famous grocery chain returned to Toronto, sporting a smaller yet modern store in the heart of downtown.
Perched on the bustling College Street just west of Spadina Avenue, the new T&T downtown location takes over the space previously home to an Independent CityMarket location––both brands being owned by Loblaw. Although slightly smaller than their Cherry Street location, the 27,000 square-foot store offers a selection of over 10,000 products, including standard grocery staples, premium Asian snacks, a self-serve hot bar, bakery and more.
When the original downtown store closed in early 2020, many of T&T’s loyal customers were beyond saddened, but knew the company would soon return downtown eventually. That isn’t to say that the loss was completely heart-wrenching at the time, as its closure came just as the global pandemic was on the rise.
The Cherry Street store was closed due to Toronto’s ongoing Port Lands redevelopment project, which is aimed to build out a new community hub, river and urban island. The project is expected to be finished by 2024.
“When we heard that the redevelopment project would mean closing the Cherry Street store, we knew our customers would be devastated,” said Tina Lee, CEO of T&T. “That’s why our new location is so perfect, [it’s] in the heart of the city and within walking distance for so many of our customers.”
Posted on the walls along the welcoming corridor, signs that were put up on their Cherry Street store upon closing show handwritten messages from customers saddened by the location’s departure. Lee said that it was a reminder to them of what the location, which originally opened in 2007, meant to the downtown community.
“We’re excited to be back downtown serving Torontonians again in person,” she said.
At the new downtown location, you’ll find your regular grocery staples, including fresh produce, meat and seafood, along with specialty Asian products and packaged and made-to-order meals for on-the-go customers.
T&T is known for guaranteeing freshness of their produce, and boasts a policy that allows customers to bring back any of their groceries that are not fresh and receive an alternative item, no questions asked. Alongside your typical cuts of meat, you'll find other cuts not often seen in bigger supermarkets, like a massive bone-in tomahawk steaks, ready for the grill. T&T offers premium cuts of beef that are certified Canadian angus.
The new store will also feature a self-serve hot bar with rotating options, which Lee hopes to be a hit with university students, seeing as the University of Toronto is just a stone's throw away, along with OCAD and X University close by as well.
One of their most noteworthy made-to-order items is the coveted Gua Bao, a staple Taiwanese street food that has grown in popularity globally. Tucked inside a warm, fluffy bao bun is a suckling and juicy strip of braised pork belly with some pickled veggies and fresh herbs––the perfect grab-and-go item for busy downtown folks. Along with a bustling kitchen, T&T has a full-service bakery right next to it that features an array of popular baked goods, including breads, pastries, cakes and more.
Located at 297 College Street in the Chinatown-Kensington Market area of downtown Toronto, the new T&T Supermarket outpost is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m.