It’s hard to believe that just five years ago, Zane Caplansky was working in a 100-square-foot kitchen at the Monarch Tavern. Since then, the deli man has opened a restaurant on College, spearheaded the food-truck craze, debuted on a few Food Network shows, and launched two outposts at Pearson airport. As part of the next step in his plans to take over the country via corned beef, Caplansky recently announced he would be opening a 6,000-square-foot production kitchen inside the old Scythe Textile Factory building at 128 Sterling Rd., just south of Bloor near Lansdowne.
“For us to be able to ensure consistent quality and make enough food for catering, the food truck, retail, and the two airport locations, we really needed more space,” he says. “It’s going to be catering and production for now. We also took on some additional space that we’re making into retail in the next two years.” The meats served at the restaurant will continue to be made at the College location.
Caplansky will be moving into the main floor of the century-old building, taking over the space from a flag-manufacturing company. The property has to undergo a massive refurbishment before construction on the kitchen starts. Caplansky says he’ll have to wait until spring before he can use the space, which will be inspected by the province rather than the city.
“There are millions of square feet in that neighbourhood approved for residential, commercial, and mixed-use retail. The space that we have is a perfect spot for us as a hub moving forward,” he says.
Caplansky’s new digs will be just steps away from the Nestle chocolate factory at 72 Sterling Rd. “It’ll be smoked meat and chocolate together at last,” he says. “Maybe we’ll have Caplansky’s smoked-meat bars.”—Karon Liu
Photo: Colin McConnell/Toronto Star