A Markham heritage house was recently transformed into a fine-dining restaurant that serves up a fusion of North American and Caribbean culture.
Located at 48 Main St., Laz Authentic Cuisine is in a heritage building once known as the “wedding cake house” for its white picket fence, central gable and decorative bargeboard, it was constructed in 1870 and designated for its heritage value by the
Town of Markham in 1979.
It’s one of the reasons co-owners Gerry Weekes, director, and Diakhia Lezama, executive chef, chose the building for their brick-and-mortar location, which they decided to open after 20 years of catering.
“It was sitting there unoccupied for a number of years,” says Weekes, who adds that initially the duo was looking for a space in the Durham Region. “And the minute we saw it, we thought ‘this IS the location.’ So we promptly got control of it and were able to develop it and established it into a really nice heritage site for dining.”
The 60-seat floral front patio adds more tables to the already spacious two-storey interior. The top floor seats 50 diners for private dining, and the main floor can accommodate 40 guests for whitetablecloth fine dining.
The patio and upper floors are used for weekly special events and live performances which, like the food, is based in Carribean style. Each week, the restaurant offers Jazz Thursdays and on Friday, Laz does what Weekes calls “Music on Main Street” Fridays, featuring a range of different musical stylings.
Weekes adds that depending on the occasion or celebration, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Canada Day, they’ll offer more live music. “Adding a bit of live entertainment to the dining experience enhances everyone’s mood and everyone’s feelings.”
Like the entertainment, different days of the week have different specials on the menu for diners at Laz. On “soul food Sundays,” — as Weekes calls it — Laz offers a rotating variety of Caribbean-style favourites like a macaroni pie and coo coo orncallaloo.
On Wednesdays, the restaurant serves a seafood bacchanal, a platter of seafood with everything from lobster to crab, shrimp and mussels. Weekes explains that the menu features dishes that represent different islands of the Caribbean, like Trinidad and Tobago.
“That’s what makes us special,” says Weekes. We’re able to come up with clever ways to provide the mix of Caribbean meals to suit our local community as well as the Caribbean community.”
Laz Authentic Cuisine is open Sundays and Tuesdays to Thursdays from 11am to 10pm and Fridays to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.