I’ve eaten my weight in Ricciarelli in Tuscany, basked in the architectural opulence of Cordóba, sipped (multiple) Cab Sauvs in Bourdeaux, and danced in bare feet on a cobblestone dance floor until dawn. Yet, it’s here in Toronto that has proved to be the most prolific, exciting, enticing, thrilling, goosebumps-all-day-long adventure of my life.
I’ve been busy. Like flat out cramming 87 to-dos into 18-hour increments for months. It’s been mad, yet utterly fulfilling at the same time. My brain is abuzz. Sleep is a foreign concept. All this for a good cause: Ricarda’s is officially OPEN!!
Opening the doors was a labour of love - not just of my own heart but of scads of talented, committed, and oh-so-brilliant folks who worked tirelessly to bring the vision to light. We interviewed servers, hostesses, baristas, and kitchen staff. We had conversations under mood lighting over croissants and macchiatos with designers, architects, marketers, and chefs. We made mistakes. We made the right call. We stayed up late. And boy did we laugh!
Here are just a few of the rare talents that have amazed me on this journey:
- Elise Goodhoofd, a.k.a The Chalk Artist!
She forwent sleep to create our 15 custom menu boards that ooze decadence and delight. Then went on to create an outdoor mural to give curious passersby a visual taste of Ricarda’s.
- Ian Milne, one of the county’s most respected industrial artists, designed custom signage for our space. It literally makes me smile—and sometime do a little giddy hop—every time I see it. So gorgeous!
- Our marketing partners and friends at Isabel Avery & Company just slayed my vision! They listened intently, then embraced my dream as if it were their own: tackling it with unparalleled commitment to perfection and turning it into an incredibly authentic and stunning reality. I’m floored. And also on cloud nine!
And all of a sudden, we were open for business (and eating and drinking oh my!)
On July 22nd, 800 fabulously dressed and super hungry people joined us in the atrium for Ricarda’s Evening of Grand. And grand it was!! There was fabulous food, divine desserts, wine bottles uncorked en masse, incredible theatrics, packed dance floor, lively conversations, and even a little Roman Holiday-inspired Vespa riding. I’ve never been so proud to be part of something.
Toronto welcomed us with open arms, blissed out bellies, kind words, killer dance moves, and sincere gratitude. Community cuisine at its finest!
The dream is alive and kickin’ now.
Thank you, Blog TO, Best of Toronto, View the Vibe, Foodism, and more for dining with us. And to our Ricarda’s street team, spreading the word (and the sourdough) on vintage bikes.
And, thank YOU, for following my journey.
Ricarda’s is more than me. It’s yours. It’s Toronto’s. It our community’s.
With love, a latte, and a late night lamb burger,