Former chef of Parallel opens new midtown Toronto bakery

Last week, the folks over in midtown were treated to the opening of an exciting new eatery by the Israeli chef behind one of Toronto’s best Middle Eastern restaurants — Parallel. Called Romi’s Bakery, Tomer Markovitz’s new venture is offering a little bit of everything.

Though the idea began during pandemic restrictions when Markovitz saw a demand for the baked goods he began selling, the largest persuasion to open Romi’s was the birth of his first-born child—a daughter who is  now the bakery’s namesake.

“She gave me the inspiration to open something for her,” says Markovitz. “She loves everything I make for her. It’s kind of a chef’s dream for their kid to love his cooking.”

Despite its name, Romi’s Bakery provides more than baked goods. Markovitz describes it as a bakery, storefront, market, and café. From challah, Jerusalem bagels, and babkas, to cookies, crackers, and the more savoury sandwiches, baba ghanoush, and falafel bowls, Romi’s has it all.

“It’s a little bit of everything,” says Markovitz. “We just wanted to give our best offering.”

As a grab-and-go storefront, customers will be able to either purchase the menu items already made fresh and in-house, or they can pick up the prepared meals to bring home.

“Everything we make in-house, we sell as a finished product, and as individual items. So people can either enjoy it at home fresh for them, or they can buy it here.” For example, he explains, customers can get a schnitzel sandwich already made, or they can get pre-fried or baked schnitzel to take home and create the sandwich themselves.

The other puzzle piece that helped Markovitz bring the bakery to life was the right location. “I’ve been waiting for this corner on Saint Clair and Rushton for quite a while now. I didn’t want it anywhere else in the city. This was it.”

He explains that much of his current clientele for his private chef dinners and catering live nearby Wychwood, Oakwood, and other mid-town neighbourhoods. He wanted to be close to these clients and was attracted to the space’s “beautiful” patio and large interior.

Markovitz describes the renovated interior as “very, very clean” with white tiling, custom-made butcher blocks, and arches that resemble the stone walls of Jerusalem. “It has LA, Mexico vibes to it. A little bit of Tel Aviv.”

In the future, Markovitz hopes to rent out Romi’s Bakery for private bookings like corporate events and cocktail parties. He also plans to host events of his own like chef series featuring other experts of the craft.

Romi’s Bakery is located at 744 St. Clair Avenue West. The bakery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m.

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