After two fascinating interviews, one with Lido Chilelli, the creator of the Toronto Beaches International Jazz Festival, and Bill Libbus, who had given me an insider tour of the historic Fire Station 227 on Queen Street, it was definitely time for a solid lunch. This was my conclusion as I started strolling eastwards on the main thoroughfare in the Beach. Close to the intersection of Queen and Kenilworth I came across a fairly new establishment: a restaurant called The Green Eggplant, located on the former premises of Il Fornello which had been one of my favourites in the area before it moved further east on Queen.
I decided it was time to check out the new tenant, so in I went. I had always enjoyed the layout of this restaurant with the big front windows that open out onto the street. Even though the furniture, the bar and the lighting were different, there was still a comfortable familiarity to these premises with their spacious layout and the beautiful brick walls that always feature unique art.
Serge Kuchak, owner of The Green Eggplant
Since this was an impromptu visit, a “neighbourhood walk and talk” as I like to call it, I asked the waiter for the owner / manager, and a few minutes later I was joined by Serge Kuchak, the newly minted owner of The Green Eggplant. Serge has been in the restaurant business since he is 12 years old, and his previous restaurant management experience includes the Pickle Barrel chain in Toronto. Serge, originally from the Ukraine, has lived and travelled throughout many different countries including Germany, Greece, Israel and United States. He calls Toronto his home for 17 years and adds that he loves Toronto’s multicultural flair, something that makes it truly unique in the world.
The cozy premises at The Green Eggplant
Serge had planned to open his own upscale family restaurant and aimed to provide good size portions of healthy food with good prices. His goal was simple: to provide good food and good value for everybody. He pointed out that his menu is very diverse and includes a wide range of appetizers, salads, grilled dishes, burgers, pastas, stir fries, fresh fish and delicious desserts. An extensive wine and cocktail list rounds out the offerings at The Green Eggplant.
The brand new bar
Since taking over the premises, Serge has put in a new floor, new seating and new lighting; he has sanded the wall, and put in a brand new bar and a new kitchen. Even the restrooms are nicely spiffed up. He spent two months on the renovation and replaced all the tiles and pipes. The restaurant opened at the end of December, and it has been very successful so far. Serge is very happy with the results.
My delicious appetizer