A few years ago, Milton Nunes was facing troubled times as his bakery-café, Le Gourmand, slowly closed its numerous locations one by one. The Queen and Spadina flagship managed to survive the slump under new ownership, but Nunes is on the upswing with his soon-to-open Portland Variety, now under construction at 587 King Street West. Nunes has been inspired by New York venues such as Casa Mono and ABC Cocina, Spanish-themed places with long operating hours that change their function as the day progresses.
He envisions Portland Variety as a bakery and café in the morning; a lunch spot in the afternoon; then, later on, a dinner destination with cocktails and tapas. He’s equipping the 2,400-square-foot space with leather banquettes, marble countertops and, it should be noted, a $20,000 Modbar espresso system, one of the most advanced coffee setups available.
Fans of Le Gourmand may be happy to hear that Portland Variety will feature all of the same baked goods that Nunes is known for, including the cookies. As for his previous failures, Nunes isn’t letting them set him back. “I’m not going anywhere,” he says. “This is what I’m going to be doing for the rest of my life.”