They’re gone. After years of construction delays and flapping tarps, the two trailers that served as a makeshift restaurant have been torn down as the main floor of Lahore Tikka House (1365 Gerrard Street East) opens for business. I was there on the weekend to take a photo to go with my piece on Toronto.com and happened to run into owner Alnoor Sayani, who happily showed me around.
The space directly east of the building where the trailers once stood is now home to a giant tent and patio area. Decorated with saris and colourful fabric as well as thousands of tiny lights, it’s already easy to imagine dining here on a hot summer night. Sayani points out where landscaping is still to be added, as well as a spot out front that will house a fountain. Large glass garage doors on the east side of the building also open up to make the whole indoor space feel like a giant patio.
Sayani says that he will keep the tented patio open until probably November, weather-permitting. He also points out that not everyone was happy to see the trailers go – some customers were actually upset, having claimed their “regular” table in the trailers, they’re now faced with having to re-establish themselves again. And given that the move into the new building seems to have caught Sayani by surprise – the restaurant and tent are currently full of patio chairs and folding tables until his new furniture arrives – those folks may find themselves displaced again depending on how the new furniture fits into the space.
I also talked with Sayani about the decline of the neighbourhood over the past few years as shops move north to areas with a larger South-east Asian population. He hopes that the renovated, expanded restaurant will draw people back to the Little India neighbourhood and give it a new sense of vitality and community.
Construction crews are still at work on the second floor, and the rooftop patio will be completed and opened next year, once appropriate licenses are obtained.
This post originally appeared on TasteTO.