Long before bone marrow and headcheese became familiar menu items to most diners, chef Mark Cutrara was already serving head-to-tail cuisine at his Parkdale restaurant Cowbell (1564 Queen St. W., at Sorauren) when it opened in 2007. But, this past weekend, the chef cooked one last meal at his restaurant before he posted this message on the door:
To my valued customers, neighbours, and friends,
Over the past six years, it has been a great honour to be part of the Parkdale community. I’m proud to have served you the best of what Ontario has to offer, helping to introduce locally sourced, quality produce, and nose-to-tail dining to the city’s tables. However, it is with great sadness that I must announce Cowbell has closed as of February 2.
I would like to give my sincerest thanks to all Cowbell staff past and present. It is because of them that we have earned the loyalty and appreciation of so many wonderful customers. I cherish the legacy that Cowbell leaves behind, and look forward to what they will bring to the food community of this fine city.
Cheers, and eat well,
“It’s just finances. I couldn’t continue,” says Cutrara over the phone. “It’s that January-February slump, and business has been decreasing for Cowbell for a number of months so I wasn’t able to keep on like many bistros. But I loved it. It was the perfect space for me and when we opened our doors, localvorism wasn’t even a word.”
Cutrara adds that he’ll be taking some time off but will continue to do catering and cook with the Group of Seven Chefs collective, of which he’s a member. The chef was also initially involved with the soon-to-open Samuel J. Moore inside The Great Hall (1087 Queen St. W., at Dovercourt) but is no longer attached to the restaurant. Among the chefs and cooks that have worked at Cowbell: Richmond Station‘s Ryan Donovan, Room 203‘s Guy Rawlings, and Sidecar’s Anthony Davis. Cutrara says he is still looking at offers for new tenants in the space.—Karon Liu