Tag Archives: Toronto Business

Unparalleled Experience

Several months ago, I heard about a popular Middle Eastern restaurant that had opened up in Toronto called Parallel. The restaurant is owned by the Ozery Brothers, of Ozery Bakery fame, and the creators behind the popular pitas that are available across the country and in some select locations in the United States. The Ozery Bakery has been around for more than 20 years and has grown from a small family owned bakery to a staple for alternative bread products. The Ozery Brothers’ new restaurant is sure to become a staple for Middle Eastern cuisine due to the great food, wonderful ambiance, and the overall unique experience that it has to offer.

Where the Ozery Bakery was the creation of just Alon and Guy; Parallel is a collaboration between Alon, Guy and their brother, Aharon. The addition of Aharon is apparent in how the space, location, and ambiance of the restaurant differs from that of Ozery Bakery. By having the three brothers all collaborate together, putting their individual skills and tastes into the restaurant, they have created a restaurant that is bursting with flavour and style.

Parallel itself is a small, open concept space that seats about 75 people. An interesting aspect of the restaurant is that it backs onto the kitchen, allowing diners to see what is happening behind the scenes. The decoration is minimal, though the art pieces that are on the walls, are statement pieces and draw the eye. The high ceilings and the trains that can be seen through the window, give the restaurant a chic, yet warm, ambiance that is reminiscent of a working, living warehouse.

Now, don’t be fooled by the location or the modern ambiance. The food is steeped in tradition, and the dining experience is based in community. The menu is all about shareable items and diners can share beer and food with the table. This adds to the overall experience and charm of the restaurant and makes Parallel a great place for a friendly get together, a date, or a relaxing night out.

The menu offers dishes that suit all likes and dietary lifestyles. Parallel offers gluten free, vegetarian and vegan friendly options, while also offering a selection of diary, gluten and meat dishes. The menu is not overly extensive, but there is enough variety that diners feel like that they can sample a wide variety of flavourful food, and non-alcoholic and alcoholic beverages.

The acquaintance who told me about the new restaurant raved about how great it was and told me that they had already decided to go back. They were very excited, but there was a problem; it was so busy, they had to make a reservation a couple of weeks in advance and they didn’t know if they would be able to wait that long. Now I don’t know about you, but when there is a wait list that long, I know that I have to go and see for myself what the craze is about.

So that’s exactly what I did… two weeks after I had made my own reservation.

When I arrived, my guest and I were immediately greeted and escorted to a table that had already been set. The server was great; they were personable, friendly, and full of suggestions. There was a great variety of food and beverages available, and the atmosphere was lively. The Parallel salad was tasty, and the fried cauliflower was amazing! The mushroom dish was unique and delicious. The flavours of each dish were mouth-watering and memorable. They were plated attractively and were a decent portion size; though, I will admit that I found the restaurant to be a little bit on the expensive side, the food and the experience was well worth the money. I can’t wait to go back again and explore more of their menu, because if the food is as flavourful as the cauliflower or the salad, I know that I am in for an exciting treat.

Living in Toronto means that there are tens of thousands of restaurants that are available to choose from; and it has become increasingly difficult to find a unique, fun, and delicious restaurant that stands out. That being said, Parallel is one of those restaurants that is unique, memorable, and different, and in my humble opinion, everyone should try it and see for themselves how great it is.

Parallel is closed Monday and Tuesday, but it is open every other day of the week, offering both brunch and dinner. So, whether you are looking to try a new type of cuisine, impress a dinner date, or have a fun, relaxing brunch with friends or family, Parallel is unparalleled in providing great food and a great atmosphere, and you should definitely stop by to check it out.

Parallel
(416) 516-7765
www.parallelbrothers.com

 

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Ensuring You Use the Right Insurance Company

This week, I’d like to write a blog about Intact Insurance, however, I’m going to take a slightly different perspective on the subject.

Insurance is one of those industries that touches just about everyone, whether or not you own a house, rent an apartment, drive a car, or run a business. As one of my colleagues says, “you can never have enough insurance”. Most people deal with an insurance company or a broker on a somewhat regular basis, and while buying insurance typically comes down to the cost, I would think that it’s always better and easier to be dealing with an insurance company that has a good reputation in the industry.

Often times, I hear stories about insurance appraisers and adjusters that try to pay as little as possible for claims, or make it very difficult on one to resolve their claims or issues. That said, this story is meant to look at an insurance company from a different angle….

A couple of years ago, my 90 year old aunt tripped on a mat, fell, and broke her hip while shopping at a grocery store. As a result of this accident, a lawsuit was filed as my aunt was incurring a number of significant expenses associated with her injuries. As the lawsuit progressed, we began dealing with a lawyer for the insurance company that was representing the grocery store.

Although I often hear horror stories about dealing with lawyers in such cases, the lawyer representing my aunt was pleasantly surprised by the insurance company’s approach to handling the situation. While many insurance companies would have dragged the process out for as long as possible, given my aunt’s advanced age, all parties involved were looking for a reasonable solution so that my aunt could return to a normal life as soon as possible. While it’s difficult to put a price tag on such a terrible accident, and my aunt didn’t necessarily feel that she received as much money as she deserved, the willingness of the insurance company to move the process along was very much appreciated. It was truly a breath of fresh air to see both the lawyer and insurance company treat my aunt respectfully and professionally, while simultaneously looking out for their interests as well. After the case was settled, I took the time to call the President of Intact Insurance to acknowledge how their in-house lawyer handled this difficult matter in a professional and respectful way.

During the conversation, the President mentioned that Intact Insurance attempts to be a different type of insurance company, and treats people the way their employees would want to be treated themselves. While many companies in the industry say this, very few put their words into practice, however, I can tell you firsthand that Intact Insurance really does have this kind of culture and approach.

Again while I realize that purchasing insurance often boils down to price, I highly recommend that you at least look at Intact Insurance for your insurance needs. They are truly an excellent company to deal with.

Intact Insurance
www.intact.ca

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Nothing’s Tougher Than a Burton

For transparency purposes, I will say right off the bat that the person I am writing about just so happens to be my next-door neighbour, however, this article is based on work that he has done for my family.

Back about three years ago, my 90-year-old aunt fell in a grocery store and broke her hip. Because we felt that the grocery store was responsible for her fall, we quickly decided to retain a lawyer who specialized in personal injury law. While there is certainly no shortage of advertisements for these types of lawyers on TV and in newspapers, I had the good fortune of knowing one who lives 20 feet away from me: Jonathan Burton, who works at Gluckstein Lawyers.

The fact that he was my neighbour and lived nearby was only one factor in deciding to use his services for my aunt. Jonathan has been practicing law for a number of years, and my research indicated that he was extremely experienced, well respected by his colleagues, and specializes in personal injury law. From the beginning, I could tell Jonathan knew how to handle the situation. Whether it was quickly drafting up a letter, scheduling meetings with my aunt and myself, or just organizing his work the way he does, I was able to see that I made the right decision.

Over the course of the case, there were certain objectives that needed to be completed, and Jonathan always made sure to give us the information and heads up in advance. He was always prepared for upcoming activities, and we could tell that we were in good hands.

A few weeks ago, we had a scheduled mediation. For those who are unaware, before you are able to arrange a date for certain types of trials, in Ontario, you have to participate in a mandatory mediation. This involves a third, unbiased party, working with both sides to find common ground. and a settlement that both can live with. It may come as a surprise to many, that the majority of cases are settled at mediation and never end up going to trial.

We were fortunate in that we had a good meditator handling my aunt’s case. Jonathan presented himself in a professional manner, and dealt with the mediator and opposing lawyer in a skillful way. The other party was open to a settlement, and after a few hours of discussion the case was settled.

I truly believe that one of the main reasons the case was settled was because of Jonathan’s reputation amongst his colleagues in the legal profession. Jonathan was never rude in his dealings, and treated people with respect and honesty. He was always willing to listen, however, he recognized that he was there for his clients’ best interests. I often hear of lawyers who are rude, bullies, and not open to discussion, however, when you take on tactics like these, I believe you do it at the disservice of your clients.

I wouldn’t wish my aunt’s situation on anyone, but if you do need a personal injury lawyer, I highly suggest Jonathan Burton.

Jonathan Burton
Gluckstein Lawyers
416-408-4252
burton@gluckstein.com

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The Buzz About Great Customer Service

For many years, whenever I was driving along Wilson Avenue, to the west of my neighbourhood, I noticed a small restaurant in a strip mall, called Buzz Buzz Pizza Family Restaurant.  Despite driving by the location numerous times I never had the opportunity to stop by until a few weeks ago when, ironically, after going to a restaurant in the area for dinner we found ourselves still hungry.

A few of us decided to stop off at Buzz Buzz for a quick bite, and to check the place out.  It’s a small restaurant, with seven to eight tables, the prices are reasonable, and is known for their Italian food, Greek food, and most of all…their pizzas.  Other popular items are their veal parmesan, veal sandwiches, meatball sandwiches, souvlakis, and salads.

Since the pizza on the first visit was absolutely delicious, about a week later, we decided to order the veal parmesan dinner, for delivery.  When it arrived we were surprised to see it included a big piece of veal, tons of pasta, garlic bread, salad, and a can of pop for $12.99.  The food arrived hot and fresh, however, I was told that depending on how busy they are, sometimes it takes about an hour for delivery.  Nonetheless, you can’t beat the price of their items!

Buzz Buzz is a family run restaurant, operated and owned by a Greek gentleman by the name of Tony.  He runs the restaurant with his wife, daughter, and a few other people.  Although they are also well-known for their delivery and take-out, they do have regulars in the area that stop by and eat while watching TV. The place also has a liquor license, so if you wanted to, you could grab a beer or glass of wine with your meal.  Perhaps the most telling sign about the business, is that every time I’ve been to the restaurant, it’s been consistently busy.

Tony and his daughter are a pleasure to deal with—they are amazingly friendly and are willing to bend over backwards for special requests.

In a day and age when the pizza business is dominated by big chains, it’s nice to find a local, friendly business that provides good food at a reasonable price.

Buzz Buzz Pizza Family Restaurant
416-630-7777
http://www.buzzbuzzpizza.com/

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Hungry for Hungarian Food?

A few weeks ago, I visited a popular, Toronto restaurant, that has been around for many years….Country Style Hungarian Restaurant. It’s a cozy Hungarian restaurant located at 450 Bloor Street West, and should not to be confused with the larger donut chain, Country Style.

Country Style Hungarian Restaurant has been around for over 50 years as a family-run business. It’s an old-school restaurant with classic red and white checkered tablecloths and wooden chairs and tables. They’re famous for their schnitzel, but some of their other go-to dishes include cabbage rolls and perogies. They of course, also have goulash soup and cucumber salad, and their wiener schnitzel is absolutely to-die for.

Aside from ordering a la carte, they also have a delicious platter prepared for two or four, which comes with a variety of meats, sausages, and potatoes. For those who are less hungry, there are shnitzel and chicken sandwiches. If you’ve saved a little room, they have great desserts including palacsinta…a Hungarian-style crepe with chestnut puree, as well as apple and cherry strudel. All of their desserts are tasty and most are homemade. Lastly, one of my favourite items on the menu is their raspberry soda…..a cold drink that is somewhat different from most pops.

Their food always comes out hot, fresh, and very quickly, and in addition, the service is great. All of the waiters are friendly and helpful, and if you ask for sauce on the side or other dietary requests, they are very accommodating.

I find the restaurant is busy at any time, especially on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, but you usually do not have to wait too long to be seated. After dinner, if you want to listen to live music, there’s are some bars in the area, as well as live theatres, all of which are accessible via public transit.

If you’re looking to experience a different, homey kind of restaurant, head on over to Country Style Hungarian Restaurant…you will not be disappointed.

Country Style Hungarian Restaurant

416-536-5966

http://countrystylehungarian.com/

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Why you should visit the St. Lawrence Market

As is the case in many cities, there are always one or two popular markets where people go to get fresh fruit, vegetables, baked goods, high quality meats, and specialty foods. Toronto is no different, and for many years the go-to location has been the St. Lawrence Market.

The market, run by the City of Toronto, is located on 93 Front Street East, and is currently comprised of three main buildings: The South Market, the North Market, and St. Lawrence Hall. It’s a combination of vendors where you can buy anything from fresh meat and pastries to seafood, olives and cheese. You can also get breakfast and lunch, as well as coffee and juice.

My understanding is that the lake used to come right up to the back of the market and vendors were able to bring their fish right up from the water, but the shoreline has since receded.

The market always exhibits a fun, bustling atmosphere. The vendors are always kind, and it’s great to support small, community businesses.

There’s also a number of places where you can buy meals….for example, Carousel Bakery at the market is known for their superb peameal bacon sandwiches. Buster’s Sea Cove has amazing fish and chips and Uno Mustachio is known for their large veal sandwiches.

What people often go down on a Friday or Saturday morning and get their groceries for the week. Since the market is closed on Sundays and Mondays, a couple of hours before closing on Saturday afternoon some of the vendors will put their products on sale or mark down the prices. Regardless, you can always kick it old school and try negotiating a deal.

Whether it’s to stroll around, grab a bite, or do your grocery shopping, I highly recommend visiting St. Lawrence Market.

St. Lawrence Market
416-392-7219
http://www.stlawrencemarket.com/

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Ask and ye shall receive (great customer service)

Quite some time ago, I wrote about a great phone repair store called Stellar Cellular on College Street. The person who ran that store was named Richard, and he as an overall great guy to deal with, who did amazing work.

A couple of weeks ago my wife was having a problem with her phone, and so I reached out to Richard and asked him for some help. To my surprise, he said his store had moved out of town and he was not doing repairs anymore. He highly recommended Maaz at Ask Computers, and suggested giving them a call. Ask Computers is run by two brothers, Maaz and Mani, on Front Street.

I called up Maaz and mentioned his colleague, Richard said I should give him a call. I explained the problem with my wife’s phone and he invited me to stop by whenever I could. They’re closed on Sundays so I drove down on a Saturday, showed him the phone and explained the problem. Right away he knew what the problem was.

Unlike some places that gave you a ticket, Maaz writes up a work order and a quote, then has you sign off electronically. Additionally, he will also text you updates when repairs are underway and when repairs are completed. He told me he’d try and get back to me later that day, but otherwise it’d be done on Monday.

Much to my surprise, about two and a half hours after I dropped it off, I got a message saying it was ready. I stopped by again, paid him, and tried the phone out. The phone was working perfectly fine again, and I even got a follow-up email thanking me for my business and asking me to leave a review.

The location is a small store but it was neat and clean, and right away, between the look of the store and the initial conversation, I had felt I was in good hands the entire time. The whole customer service system he had in place was great—something you don’t see often in small businesses.

Whether you’re looking to buy computer equipment, get something repaired, or whether you just need advice, Maaz and Mani have a great store and I highly recommend stopping by for your tech needs.

Ask Computers

416-862-9595

Askcomputers.ca

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