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As patios reopened last Friday, Toronto restaurants and bars are getting creative with outdoor dining solutions, seemingly more prepared this time around in regards to how they plan to utilize the space available to them to best seat diners.
C'est What, a long-standing establishment for craft beer and comfort food on Front Street that has been operating just around the corner from St. Lawrence Market for 32 years, is finally seeing their dreams of executing a beer garden come to life. Last year was their first time having access to space for a patio and after almost five years of trying to get approval to use the parking lot down the road for outdoor dining, they finally got the go ahead this year to make it happen.
"It's been a long year, that's just the simple truth to it all," says C'est What co-president Tim Broughton, who is incredibly appreciative of his staff's support throughout the past year. "The nice thing is our staff have been fantastic. The ones that came back, they're working eight to nine hour takeout delivery shifts that are often slow. It's been really boring and dull, but they've hung in so all credit to them, they've done a great job."
Though still putting the finishing touches on the space, expect planters full of vibrant flowers in bloom, reflective outdoor decor, canopies to provide seated shade, as well as coverage from the rain, bike racks for parking convenience and a little garden hawk they're thinking of naming "Flight" who will watch over the space.
Speaking of flights, this brewpub is stacked with an extensive list of craft beers exclusive to them, including local finds not commonly found at the LCBO. This, paired with their back of house team in the kitchen serving up comfort dishes made completely from scratch, makes for the perfect relaxing afternoon patio.
The owners decided that creating their beer garden was necessary. Due to the pandemic altering the hospitable dine-in experience C'est What has always provided, they had to do something different this year to bring it back.
"Beer garden just kind of came up out of discussion over beer," Broughton laughed.
As a result of it's location down the road from the C'est What kitchen, with no power or running water available on site, Broughton says the menu for the beer garden is scaled back to include the more popular dishes which will have to be served in takeout containers due to length of travel and canned beers, as opposed to ones on draft will be available. For those curious about what's on the menu, you can check that out here.
For those that miss their favourite menu items and prefer draft beers, once the curb-side patio opens out front, full C'est What service will resume there.
The beer garden, aimed to give you a little taste of Munich, will still be accompanied by a street side patio, which will be ready closer to July, when construction in the surrounding area eases. Find their CaféTO patio at 67 Front Street East at the building's entrance and discover their new beer garden just around the corner by walking down Farquhars Lane. Both spaces for outdoor dining will open at 2 p.m. with the beer garden closing at 11 p.m. and the front patio staying open a little bit later until midnight once it's set up.