Origin Liberty replaced by Local Public Eatery, the latest big-box restaurant chain to hit Toronto
Last year, Claudio Aprile decided to close the Liberty Village outpost of his local Origin chain. West-end condo dwellers, it seemed, were not hungry for hoisin duck wraps and miso-glazed cod. What they wanted instead were burgers, booze-spiked milkshakes and 18 flat-screen TVs per 1,000 square feet. At least, that’s what the Joey Restaurant Group is betting on. It’s turning the former Origin Liberty space at 171 East Liberty Street into an outpost of Local Public Eatery, a rowdy Vancouver-based restaurant chain known for serving cocktails in a giant glass boot.
This is the latest in a string of “premium casual dining” chains to move downtown in the last half-decade. In 2011, Earls opened on King West, followed shortly by Joey Eaton Centre at Yonge and Dundas. Last fall, the Aura condo compound at Yonge and Gerrard became home to three new gargantuan dining halls—Duke’s Refresher, Scaddabush and Reds Midtown—all owned by culinary mega-player SIR Corp. Most of these places look and feel more or less the same: they’re huge, slick, relatively inexpensive, and outfitted with just enough trendy touches—reclaimed wood on the bar; fish tacos on the encyclopedic menu—to feel vaguely cosmopolitan.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The takeaway, perhaps, is that in the midst of Toronto’s flourishing culture of foodie-ism, there seems to be a pretty strong counterculture as well—one that’s grown alongside the city’s cookie-cutter condo boom, and that craves the simple, expansive ease of suburban big-box hospitality. Clearly, some people would rather not spend $18 on a Manhattan, no matter how painstakingly crafted.
6 thoughts on “Origin Liberty replaced by Local Public Eatery, the latest big-box restaurant chain to hit Toronto”
IMHO – As someone who works in Liberty Village. (mainly business here anyways) I’d rather have a burger and a pint beer then some duck wrap something or another and an over price drink for lunch.
Not sure how the author makes the jump in logic that condo dwellers must prefer suburban-type big box restaurants. Somewhat snotty to assume one has to be living in a house to be a foodie.
Does anyone know the corporate contact/parent company of Local Public Eatery? I am trying to find out more information on the developments coming to Ontario and where they are seeking locations.
I’m a former Vancouverite and non of those fancier big chain restaurants opening up now in Toronto have a feel of a big box restaurant and that’s something that Vancouver was able to do so much better than Toronto. I mean you can’t compare Jack Astors to any of the fancier chains in Vancouver!! lived and worked downtown Vancouver and never felt that going to a Joey’s or an Earls or a Local would be me craving to spend time at a big box resto in the suburbs.
Agreed. But to make another broad generalization, anyone who thinks Liberty Village is a good place to live grew up in Oakville or Burlington. It’s a vertical suburb and a half. Anecdotal evidence: everyone I know who lives there grew up in the ‘burbs.
“At least, that’s what the Joey Restaurant Group is betting on. It’s turning the former Origin Liberty space at 171 East Liberty Street into an outpost of Local Public Eatery, a rowdy Vancouver-based restaurant chain known for serving cocktails in a giant glass boot.”
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