Today the Longo family opened their 25th GTA location in 1919 heritage building Toronto’s Leaside neighbourhood. Yesterday, I had the chance to tour the new Laird Dr. outpost of the grocery store chain.
During the store walkaround I took the opportunity to check on a few of the items that the Maple Leaf Square Longo’s was missing when I wrote this grocery store comparison post. Diamond Crystal kosher salt and clear corn syrup are both regulars at the Leaside Longo’s. I was also happy (and surprised) to see that they stock imported Italian tipo 00 pizza flour. At $3/kg the price isn’t great but the Antimo Caputo brand is the holy grail for pizzerias home pizza makers (and home pizza oven builders) so paying a premium for the regular, convenient source may be worth it.
In the meat department they clarified availability information for their product. Pork belly is always there are can be cut to specification–a slab, chunks, or sliced. Beef bone marrow is a bit trickier: For small amounts they can bone-out shanks that are on hand but larger orders need one to two days notice. Next door the deli case has added products like the prosciutto from Mario Pingue’s Niagara Specialty Meats.
The Leaside store is the first with a dedicated gluten-free section. I know how important that selection will be to some so it’s good to see them put in the effort. It’s also the first to import a Spanish orange juicer that slices and scoops fresh oranges instead of just pressing them.
A couple highly-specialised services that Longo’s only does at certain locations crossed my radar for the first time on the tour. Piping cannolis by hand, on customer request is a service that aficianados consider a baseline but that many more specialised pastry shops skip. In their Aromate cafes they have a selection of green coffee beans that can be roasted to exact specifications
The wine and craft beer bar concept has been expanded. This Corks has a spacious patio and an expanded food menu that includes casual service items like salads, panini, and sandwiches. The tap and wine lists are still all Ontario and VQA, respectively.
As the industrial buildings on the east side of Laird I’ll developed the arrival of a new grocery story was inevitable. (Two actually if you count the Bulk Barn across the parking lot from the Longo’s.) I will be interested to see how Leasiders take to the locally-focused grocery chain that offers unique, added-value services.