Concepts to Watch

Concepts to Watch: La Cubana, Goodfellas, Dineen Coffee

By Katie Belflower

A bold and decisive restaurant branding and concept are important for success. Every month, with Technomic’s Concepts to Watch, we highlight three restaurants that demonstrate this across the country.

This month, the focus is on Ontario, with Toronto Cuban restaurant La Cubana, southern Ontario pizzeria Goodfellas, and Toronto coffee company Dineen spotlighted.

Source: La Cubana Instagram

La Cubana

Facebook: 1,063 likes | Instagram: 6,391 followers

Locations: 3 (Toronto)

Concept characteristics:

  • Full-service restaurant serving up Cuban comfort food
  • Family-run restaurants
  • Indoor dining areas aim for a casual retro setting
  • Emphasizes all housemade foods
  • Online ordering is available for delivery and takeout

Menu snapshot:

  • Serves up Cuban plates in varieties such as Pork Shoulder, Achiote Roasted Chicken, and Guava BBQ Beef Short Rib
  • Sandwich options include the Cuban Burger, Pressed Cubano Sandwich, Pork Belly Medianoche, and Grilled Fish Sandwich
  • Housemade sauces include Garlic Mojo, Cilantro Crema, and Mango Habanero Hot Sauce
  • Offers up a full bar to serve cocktails, including mojitos made with Cuban rum
Source: Goodfellas website

Goodfellas Wood Oven Pizza

Facebook: 5,768 likes | Instagram: 8.596 followers | Twitter: 354 followers

Locations: 7 (Ontario)

Concept characteristics:

  • Full-service restaurant specializing in authentic Neapolitan-style, wood-oven pizza
  • Focuses on flavours of Southern Italy
  • Cozy interiors often feature exposed brick or stone and bottles of wine as decor
  • Restaurant space is available for events

Menu snapshot:

  • Focus on fresh and housemade ingredients and proteins such as veal and chicken are grass-fed and free-range
  • Dishes up organic artisan pasta in varieties such as Rigatoni Bolognese and Penne al Pomodoro
  • Wood-oven pizza options include Margherita, Capricciosa, Bufalina, and Primavera
  • Serves classic Italian desserts such as Tiramisu, Bombolone, and Cannoli Siciliani
  • Offers up imported Italian wines, as well as house red and white wines
Source: Dineen Coffee Co. website

Dineen Coffee Co.

Facebook: 2,167 likes | Instagram: 9,237 followers | Twitter: 737 followers

Locations: 3 (Toronto)

Concept characteristics:

  • Cafe founded in 2013 serving up quality coffee alongside baked goods and sandwiches
  • Unique interiors reflecting the location of each cafe
  • Online shop with coffees, teas and mugs for sale
  • Catering is available
  • Events can be hosted at any of the three locations

 Menu snapshot:

  • Brews espresso drinks in varieties such as Americano, Cortado, and Flat White
  • Offers a variety of signature blends which are also for sale by the bag
  • Loose leaf tea options include Earl Grey, Roasted Almond, Lemon Ginger, and Spicy Chai
  • Food offerings are all locally sourced with a focus on freshly baked items including cookies, brownies and tarts
  • Offers up a selection of rotating sandwiches served on French baguettes during lunchtime, such as Ham and Swiss, Turkey and Brie, and Tuna

Concept Watch is based on restaurant and menu concepts and trends noted by Technomic Inc.

Katie Belflower is Associate Editor for Technomic, a Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. The company’s services include publications and digital products as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry, including menu trends.

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