by Steve Davey (2005)
Location, location, location! This industry mantra known to restaurateurs and real estate dealers describes the three most important ingredients for launching a successful eatery. They are the obvious reasons why a long list of diners have opened and swiftly closed on the stretch of Dundas opposite the AGO.
I guess gallery-goers aren't a hungry group. But what about the scads of starving art students from nearby OCAD, the thousands of office drones brown-bagging it in the office towers along University and the hordes of hospital workers.
They're in luck with the Mangiacake Panini Shoppe, as it's known in full, located one block north of the perpetually under-construction AGO. Art students and everybody else looking for a decent deal will love Mangiacake's grilled goodies. South of busy Baldwin Village, its obscure-to-most location had allowed this casual Milan-style café to build a loyal customer base by word of mouth.
"Art students and everybody else looking for a decent deal will love Mangiacake's grilled goodies."
Although "Mangiacake" can be seen as a contentious name (It was the insulting name given by local italian-born construction workers back in the 50's to describe their English speaking bosses' predilection for the sandwiches made with Wonder Bread), most of the restaurant faithful actually find it humorous and have come to widely accept it.
The eponymous panini are successfully paired with a very good soup or a commendable salad. Most days Mangiacake also offers calzones and there's a terrific pasta special, too. The set-up's unusual, too. Housed in a well-worn Victorian, the cafe's prep kitchen is located upstairs so staff are constantly on the go.