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Assembly Chef's Hall, Toronto's sprawling food hall with a spacious outdoor patio, is the ideal place to have a socially distanced meal and drink -- and lucky for us, they've just announced their reopening.
The space, which has been open since January 2018, has always run on a grab-and-sit basis, having guests pick and choose their own meals to enjoy at one of the many picnic-style benches and tables. The food choices are extensive, with options from seventeen of Toronto's top chefs and restaurants in addition to a full bar area. Visitors can grab food from city favourites like Cherry Street Bar-B-Que, DaiLo, Love Chix, Ramen Isshin and Short & Sweet Bakeshop, plus a pop-up booth for rotating vendors. The eclectic mix of options allows guests to access a curated group of the city's tastiest offerings all in one place, and has proven to be an excellent place for after-work drinks, meals with large groups of friends or simply a place to fulfill everyone's cravings under one roof. Plus, it's conveniently located in the Financial District, making it easily accessible to many city dwellers.
A fried chicken sandwich from popular vendor, Love Chix.
Understandably, opening back up has proven to be quite the undertaking for this 18,000-square-foot hall, considering the number of vendors involved and the amount of space that needed to be reconfigured and carefully monitored. They opened up their patio space just over a week ago, with all Toronto Public Health guidelines being followed in regards to distancing, sanitization, clear markings, mask requirements and separate areas for takeout-only. In case of rain this summer (which is bound to happen), there is still ample space for people to head inside and remain at a safe distance. There are currently a limited number of vendors open for business, including Colibri, Ramen Isshin and an Aperol Spritz pop-up. Others are free to return on their own timelines, but it's likely many will slowly pursue reopening in the upcoming weeks as foot traffic increases. The service model at Assembly has also changed to accommodate these new circumstances, with reservations and table service being offered (and encouraged) for the first time ever and limited Thursday to Sunday hours for now.
Spicy pork ramen from Ramen Isshin.
If you're looking for somewhere to safely enjoy delicious tacos, flavourful ramen and refreshing cocktails, head over to Assembly to soak up the sunshine and make the most of these precious patio months.