The AGO’s Frida & Diego exhibit is so popular, a bunch of restaurants and retailers are offering specials built around the famed powerhouse art couple.
Toronto is abuzz with talk of the AGO’s new exhibit, Frida & Diego: Passion, Politics and Painting, featuring the storied works of Mexican darlings Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera. So it’s no wonder local businesses are itching to draw upon this cultural moment for their own pecuniary gains.
A number of restaurants and retailers across the city have jumped on the bandwagon, taking the opportunity to offer Frida & Diego-inspired promotions and products. Here’s what’s being sold and served in the names of the famous powerhouse art couple:
Location: Art Square Café, 334 Dundas St. W. (across from the AGO).
Frida special: As is their custom when a hot-ticket exhibit is held across the street, Art Square is complementing their usual menu with a series of thematic specials. Since the Frida & Diego exhibit opened, the café has been offering a full-out, Frida-inspired menu, consisting of: Chili Con Carne and Mayan Chocolate Soup ($6.50), Crepe Quesadilla served with homemade guacamole ($8.50), Sweet Crepe and Mayan Hot Chocolate combo ($8.50), Tequila and Lime Dark Chocolate Truffles ($1.50 apiece), plus, to drink, Tequila with Passion Fruit or Strawberry Margaritas ($8.50).
How’s it going?: “The menu is popular, and we’ve decided to keep it going during Christmas as well,” noted a pleased Leyla Kizilirmak, Art Square’s owner. She added, intriguingly, that their additional plan come the holiday season is to sell “Frida Kahlo [hand] towels, plus “one more surprise…we’re working on it.”
Location: Total Vacations, 5450 Explorer Dr.
Frida special: In light of the all the Frida-related fuss, the Mississauga-based travel company decided to launch “The Treasures of Frida & Diego,” a five-day tour of Mexico City (from $850 per person) highlighting attractions relevant to the artists, including their private home and studio, and promising “iconic dining options.”
How’s it going?: According to Total Vacations’ Vice President, Tammy Mosher-Cecco, people have been receptive. “Although we just launched this tour, it has been very well-received and generated a lot of interest.”
Location: Indigo (various locations)
Frida special: In addition to assembling prominent displays of Frida and Diego art lit, the bookstore giant is offering, until Dec. 23, a special promotion of 20 per cent off the Frida & Diego exhibit’s admission price for Toronto-area members of their irewards (fee-based) and plum rewards (points per purchase-based) programs.
How’s it going?: The store could offer no metrics on the current promotion, but Indigo P.R. representative Lisa Huie maintained that “previous partnerships with the AGO have delivered thousands of responses from our members…as a bookseller, we’re always excited to embrace opportunities to connect customers with other culturally relevant opportunities—whether that’s museums, galleries, film openings or music.”
Location: Frank Restaurant, 317 Dundas St. W. (at the AGO)
Frida Special: For the duration of the Frida & Diego exhibit, the AGO’s in-house restaurant is offering seven themed prix fixe menus—for both lunch and dinner—that rotate on a bi-weekly basis. Options include items like “Diego’s pork steak,” tortillas and Mexican-inspired seafood stew. (Lunch $35, dinner $45).
How’s it going?: Fabian Ramirez, Frank’s new manager, has only been on the job about six weeks, but declared the special menus unexpectedly successful. “”Our culinary team has produced a great menu that reflects what Mexican cuisine is all about. It was important for us to present something very special to our customers in honour of the exhibition—not just with something like simple tacos, but with a variety of customary dishes; for example, moles that are truly authentic.”