Mercatino Expands Food Hall Concept

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By Mario Toneguzzi

Mercatino, means Little Market in Italian, but the establishment has made a big splash with the opening of its first location at the One York Street tower in  Toronto.

 Amit Vadan, CEO of Mercatino

Amit Vadan, CEO of Mercatino

“One York is a flagship location for Mercatino, and fitting to make a real statement for our expansion to the Toronto market," said Amit Vadan, CEO of Mercatino, a Calgary-based company.

"Each of Mercatino's locations feature unique food stations that are enriched with an incredible variety of high quality, wholesome, and natural ingredients that are delivered fresh daily, which are then combined together by our chefs to produce an exceptional and very flavourful experience."

Mercatino, which started in 2014,  now has six locations in Canada - four in Calgary including the iconic Bow Tower and the Fifth Avenue Place tower in the downtown - as well as one at the 201 Portage office building in downtown Winnipeg. Its first location was in the Bow.

(The beautiful space was designed by GH+A and built-out by BUILD IT by Design. Scroll for images)

“It’s like a market style restaurant. We have lots of different offerings from coffee to grab-and-go sandwiches and salads to our famous sort of chef’s table and daily features that rotate Monday to Friday. So lots of different varieties of food in one convenient market style retail location,” said Vadan.

Harbour Eats by Mercatino is operating an impressive food hall in One York Street with an expansive terrace overlooking a new city park and Lake Ontario.

“We essentially are a food hall. We’re gravitating towards kind of our entire food court and re-branding the whole food hall phenomena and having lots of different stations and offerings within a larger atmosphere,” said Vadan. “So for example in One York we have 350 seats that’s all common area and then we’ve got the six vendors there we control and operate it and we have different offerings within those parameters.”

The entire food hall is about 15,000 square feet and Mercatino has about 2,700 square feet of that space, designed by GH+A, which has worked with some of the country's leading retailers and landlords. 

Vadan said Mercatino’s goal is to provide fresh, healthy meals that are affordable and it wants to bring that to professional buildings across Canada.

“Our focus is in the downtown cores of all the major cities. We’d love to see us continue to expand in Toronto and look at other potential development sites like Montreal, Ottawa and Vancouver,” he said. “We’ve got some prospects in Edmonton and in Toronto at this point. I think comfortably we could probably do another three or four here in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Simon Shahin, President and CEO of BUILD IT By Design which oversaw the construction of Mercatino, said One York is a brand-new building with everything state-of-the-art in it.

“It’s a beautiful space that Menkes is providing the main general area and Mercatino just matched the style and overall space with their design and it just flows so well together with what Menkes has designed as the main food court area and what Mercatino’s designers came up with for the food service area,” said Shahin.

“As a contractor on that project there was a lot of higher end finishes that were involved in there.”

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Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com

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Mario Toneguzzi

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com.