The Local Company: is the Danforth still seeking its sexy hero?
Late last year, there was buzz that the Danforth was primping for some big nights out. The opening of The Local Company, near Logan, was supposed to bring an upscale, King West sexiness to the Greektown strip. We checked on the area’s progress and discovered that the nightlife effect was there on weekends, but the mid-week vibe is not so hot.
On a recent Wednesday evening, a couple of east-enders found themselves at Local, outnumbered by staff eight to four. While our informant diners were waiting for their food, they were treated to loud discussions among the servers about the restaurant they’d be eating at once Local closed (some place in Little Italy) and the parties they had attended that weekend. Fair enough. This is the side effect of hiring the necessary cool staff. But the diners also found the food disappointing—particularly some slightly unnerving dips that “all tasted exactly the same, but were different colours. It was kind of freaky.”
Such Toronto retail success stories as Type and Body Blue have crossed over the DVP divide and now have prominent locations in both east- and west-end shopping strips. But is the same true of food, or do Toronto neighbourhoods have distinct, intransigent dining character? Is King Westness transportable? Should it be?
Fortunately, the Danforth’s hopes don’t rest on Local’s success. When they’re on their game, places like Globe Bistro can attract diners from across the city. And it’s good that more than one trendy place is now available to Greektown diners, because for a spot that specializes in bottle service, Local didn’t do so well on the booze test, either. To finish the meal, one of our diners requested a single malt. Follow-up question from the waiter: “Is that a shiraz?”
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Editor’s Note: This Daily Dish post is not a review, simply a short report on one experience at this establishment. Toronto Life’s starred reviews can be found in their entirety in our Restaurant Guide.
5 thoughts on “The Local Company: is the Danforth still seeking its sexy hero?”
I read and live by your comments about the restaurants that you visit. I also agree with a lot of your reveiws(finding them impartial), but i really do think that you dropped the ball on this one.
I’ve eaten at Local on 3 different occasions and can honestly say that this reveiw is unfortunite.
I hope that other readers won’t be skewed away from this spot because of your reveiew.
I will keep on reading your editorials, but will now take them with a grain of salt
I hope your editorials aren’t scewed by how much advertising space certain places take out, because that would be unfortunate!
I had a great experience at Local last week; I found the food amazing and the atmosphere was something Toronto has been missing in the east end.
This post seems to suggest that it’s difficult to transport “King Westness” to other neighbourhoods.
Yet it describes Local Co. as a vapid and trendy lounge with awful food and clueless staff.
Sounds to me like they’ve captured the spirit of King West perfectly!
As Joe said, by being a vapid and trendy lounge with awful food and clueless staff, Local captured King West perfectly, except for one key element: being successful in spite of it.
Even after reading some bad reviews, on several different websites, I thought I would try this place anyway. I had my 26th birthday at Local, this Saturday, July 10, 2010.
I wanted to try bottle service at this venue and invited 45 people. I reserved the upper loft that they have their for a private party and I was told that I would need to purchase a minimum of 3 bottles of alcohol to keep the upper loft for my party all to ourselves. I was also told that I would receive wraps and chocolate covered strawberries later on in the evening. I was content with this information after speaking with the events co-ordinator on the phone. After filling out my pre-authorization credit card form, and dropping it off, I did not hear from anyone at the venue until I went there on Saturday, July 10, 2010. Once there, I was told a very different story from what I was told on the phone from the events co-ordinator, Odie Lu. I do not appreciate the horrible level of customer service I was given from the events co-ordinator, my hostess and the upper loft bartender.
On the eve of my party, I was told that the minimum number of bottles to purchase had now increased to 4 and that the upper loft was not going to be for a private party, but open for anyone to come upstairs. After a short heated discussion with the events co-ordinator, she then said that we would all have wristbands and that the area would be our own. A security guard was placed at the base of the stairs to help control the crowds or individuals with or without wristbands. The entire evening, I found many people in the upper loft that were not party of my group. Security did nothing to prevent this from happening. By the end of the evening, I asked my hostess where our wraps and strawberries were, she said she would be back with them… after 45 minutes she never came back for the rest of the night. I then searched for the events co-ordinator in the crowd of people downstairs on the main floor, found her and told her the situation, she then asked one of the bus boys if any wraps or strawberries made it up to the loft, he said “no”. She then asked him to go “scrounge up whatever is left” in the kitchen. After 30 minutes I received 12 freshly cut strawberries because that was all that was left. No wraps and no chocolate. Our Bartender was late and rude to my entire party. Everyone came to me with complaints about the service they were receiving from her. I do not think I once saw a smile on her face. My hostess was late and also kept disappearing. And by late I mean that both the bartender and hostess showed up after 11 pm.
I do not appreciate going somewhere where I am promised an exceptional level of face to face customer service, and receive the type of service I would expect when in line at a Government Office. Arrogance and disorganization.
I also run events and to be treated in a manner that I would never dare treat any of my customers is an outrage. I will make sure to tell everyone I know to never again come to Local. Thanks for nothing.
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