Toronto Underground Market a smash hit before it even starts: all 1,200 tickets already sold out

Toronto Underground Market a smash hit before it even starts: all 1,200 tickets already sold out

(Image: Jeremy Burgin) 

Earlier this spring we despaired that Toronto might be too straitlaced to join the underground market fad (all-night foodie raves that have been gaining popularity in the U.S. and in Europe). Our lack of faith in Toronto’s street food culture spurred Hassel Aviles into action. Following our post, Aviles founded the Toronto Underground Market to try to allow home cooks to sell their food without having to rent a commercial kitchen. The good news: the first ever TUM will take place on September 24 at the Evergreen Brick Works. The bad? If you haven’t already bought your ticket, you’ll have to wait until October for the next go-round, as rabid street food–loving Torontonians snatched up all 1,200 $5 tickets within a week.

The original underground market in San Francisco dodged the red tape associated with street food by being members-only. But signing a waiver that says you don’t mind a little salmonella wouldn’t fly in Toronto, so Aviles had to insure that all 26 vendors prepared their food in a commercial kitchen (the $150 vending fee they pay covers equipment, space and access to one of the Brick Works’ commercial kitchens). While following the rules might detract from the cool factor, it will insure that TUM sticks around, unlike the SF Underground Market, which was shut down earlier this summer by San Francisco’s Department of Health.

The eats that’ll be available at September’s market will have a ceiling of $8, though most will cost between $2 and $4. Expect everything from local microbrews to traditional English scotch eggs ($5). We’re excited to taste Bistro Filipino’s deep-fried quail eggs (which the TUM team has been raving about) and to quench our thirst with some watermelon basil lemonade. There will even be a sandwich showdown where two friends compete to see who can sell the most sandwiches—the Danish frikadeller versus Jamaican jerk chicken on a coco bun. And for those upset about missing the inaugural run, take heart: October’s market is going to be even bigger, with 60 30 vendors.