Concepts to watch August

Restaurant Concepts to Watch this August

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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