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Sunday, February 24, 2013

The Wren - Finally!

They bought a fixer-upper along Danforth East, have been through renovation insanity and along the way have held down jobs and had two kids - and are still crazy in love. They're a couple exactly like almost everyone Pioneer knows in the 'hood. That's why it was such a pleasure for us to meet Dennis and Rhonda, the owners of the much anticipated new space called The Wren at 1382 Danforth. This isn't just a story about a new business opening in a vacant store front, this is a story all about two people who are investing in their community: They came, they saw, they loved it, they opened a restaurant.....

When Pioneer popped by for a sneak peak this weekend, the place was still a construction site so it was hard to envision what its going to look like when it opens around St. Patty's Day, but there were some glimmers of what's to come. Although there have been rumours that this was going to be a southwestern themed-resto, Dennis was clear that it won't be a theme restaurant. It's going to be a local. A really great local, with some southern- and southwestern-inspired comfort food (you're seriously not going to find a mangy caeser salad at this place). And maybe a little bit of exposed wood. He says more importantly though, he and his wife are envisioning a place where they would want to hang out - comfortable and friendly (we know some people around here like to hang out at the Linsmore, and that's ok too!).

The cozy space will hold 60 seats, with a long harvest table down the middle designed to really get neighbours chatting. Pioneer's hard hitting question to Dennis was about junior east-enders. Are they welcome? Are there highchairs? Will new parents feel comfortable coming for a pint of Ontario craft beer with their screaming monster? Dennis was lukewarm on his answer - they can come (oh, and COME they will!) but there really isn't room for even the smallest umbrella stroller. However, he admits the need for a solution on that front.

A highlight of the tour was definitely the building-height vintage painted Coca Cola advertisement they uncovered while tearing down the east wall of the interior. It was once an exterior sign on what used to be an exterior wall of the building next door. It's created an interesting focal point and a must-see feature wall in the new space.

Now, as for the real exterior, that still sports the zany Studio CPB punk yellow. We're thinking that if West Lodge on Queen West can get away with a big yellow door, Pioneer thinks they should keep the funky facade. What do you think?


  1. I'm psyched about this place. I hope the food is good!

  2. Thanks, Sarah! I just approved your blog claim. Now your Urbanspoon profile picture is displayed on your blog page. You can upload a blog-specific photo if you prefer, and can change a few other blog settings there. Also, if you vote for a restaurant that you've reviewed on your blog, we now show your vote next to your post everywhere on our site.