Concepts to watch August

Concept Watch: Neo Coffee, Calle Mexico, Pacifico Pizzeria

By Sophie Mir

In this edition of “concepts to watch,” we highlight three restaurant concepts that are making an impact on Canadian diners. Here’s a look at the characteristics and menu offerings that make these restaurants unique:

Neo Coffee Bar

Restaurant Concepts to Watch

Facebook: 2,584 likes | Instagram: 12,880 followers | Twitter: 732 followers

Locations: 2 (Toronto)

Concept characteristics:

  • Relaxed cafes offering artisanal beverages and baked goods with Japanese flavour inspirations 
  • Serene atmosphere achieved through minimalist setting that includes warm wood accents and curvilinear concrete walls
  • Operate from morning to early evening hours
  • Delivery available through third-party app DoorDash

Menu snapshot:

  • Japanese teas—varieties include Matcha, Genmaicha and Hojicha lattes and teas, Betsujyo Sencha and Kabusecha
  • Espresso-based options—mochas, vanilla lattes, macchiatos, Americanos and flat whites
  • Muffins—spotlight Blackberry and Blueberry, as well as Gluten Free Sugar-Free Vegan
  • Roll cakes—highlight Matcha and Azuki, made with matcha sponge cake, as well as Strawberry Shortcake, featuring organic red bean

Calle Mexico

Restaurant Concepts to Watch

Facebook: 4,3311 likes | Instagram: 1,901 followers | Twitter: 684 followers
Locations: 3 (Edmonton, Alberta)

Concept characteristics:

  • Family-owned eateries specializing in the authentic flavours of Mexican street foods
  • Three brick-and-mortar restaurants and two food trucks that roam Edmonton
  • Units are in downtown, west and south Edmonton, with one store located at West Edmonton Mall
  • Reservations accepted at South and Downtown restaurants

Menu snapshot:

  • Appetizers and sides—highlight nachos, charro beans, and guacamole and chips  
  • Plates—include sopes, featuring a housemade tortilla topped with chicken tinga; chicken enchiladas; tostadas; and meat and veggie quesadillas
  • Tacos—spotlight a variety of proteins, including beef, chicken, pork, beef tongue, fish and bacon
  • Desserts—churros, flan and 3 Leches Cake

Pacifico Pizzeria & Ristorante

Facebook: 615 likes | Instagram: 326 followers
Locations: 2 (Vancouver, British Columbia)

Concept characteristics:

  • Italian restaurants that combine Pacific Northwest ingredients with traditional Italian recipes
  • Open from lunch to late-night hours
  • Offer daily specials Sunday-Thursday
  • Smithe St. unit currently open for takeout, delivery and dine-in at 50% capacity during pandemic

Menu snapshot:

  • Signature pizzas—varieties include Hawaiian, featuring ham and grilled pineapple; Salsicca, made with hot Italian sausage; and Vegetariana, featuring grilled eggplant and artichoke hearts 
  • Specialty pizzas—spotlight British Columbia salmon, Italian ham, Genoa salami, grilled chicken and scallops
  • Appetizers—feature mussels, garlic butter prawns, spicy meatballs and calamari
  • Pasta—varieties highlight Butternut Squash Ravioli; Farfalle de Mare, featuring scallops, prawns and British Columbia mushrooms; and Gnocchi Tartufo, made with British Columbia mushrooms and truffle oil sauce

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