Toronto restaurant staff launch new business while closed due to closures

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Hospitality staff who have been involved in some of Toronto’s most upscale restaurants have turned what were once side projects into full-fledged businesses, almost accidentally.

Twists of fate led several people from the Peer to Peer Hospitality Group, which oversaw restaurants like Tanto and Chabrol, to form the design and build company BLDRZ.

The company does small renovations, as well as larger scale commercial or residential design and construction projects.


The construction company “was born out of years of experience designing and building restaurants for ourselves and our friends in the industry,” according to BLDRZ’s Alex Nica, who worries that “can -maybe restaurants, as we know them, have no place in the future.”

Tanto has been closed for indoor dining for over a year, sadly deciding to open for the first time since March 2020 in a new space where their Super Empanada project was located in November 2021, just weeks before the entry into force of the last lockdown. .

For the group, it echoed how the first lockdown came into effect just as they hoped to open the new Chabrol site.

“We seemed to be completing a cycle, and it was heartbreaking to lay off our staff over the holiday season,” Nica told blogTO. “We didn’t know how long we could survive a lockdown and if we would ever be able to open our doors again.”


Since the last lockdown they have closed Tanto for all activities except private catering and will not ‘reopen for indoor dining this time around until there is certainty that we can operate without long-term restrictions,” according to Nica.

“Because of this uncertainty, a few of us who had an interest in design and construction and had worked on Tanto’s reconstruction decided to try the construction business,” says Nica.

They started with two small renovations on short-term rentals, but quickly secured a larger commercial project. The company is already expanding, bringing in contractors and working on business and retail building partnerships.

The company currently serves the GTA, and if you’re interested in a free consultation with people who designed some of the hottest restaurants in town, you can email them or fill out a form on their site.

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