After seeing a late-night tweet alerting us to the fact that Claudio Aprile’s Origin will be opening a second location in Liberty Village, we called the chef to find out more.
“I’m taking over an old ammunition factory from the Second World War,” he says. “It’s a gorgeous space [at 171 Liberty St. E.] and hopefully we’ll start construction in January and open in the spring around April. It’s going to be a 150-seat restaurant with a lounge, bar, open kitchen, raw bar, mozzarella bar and a large patio as well.
“Long story short: I looked at the space in Liberty Village three years ago but the deal was never realized. King and Church was another location I was looking at, so I opened [Origin] there. I was approached about Liberty Village two weeks ago, so it’s still very fresh, but I thought the space had tremendous potential back then and even more now with a greater density.”
The new Origin’s menu and environment will be different from the original location. “I don’t want to Xerox the restaurant,” he says. “Each building has a different DNA and that’s something I want to expose. That factory was run entirely by women while the men were fighting the war, so that’s really interesting for me.”
Meanwhile, Aprile also has plans to open Origin North in a new building on the site previously occupied by the recently shuttered Sierra Grill at the Bayview Village shopping centre. “It’s going to have the DNA and the core values of Origin, but not the exact same menu. It’s a different demographic, and it’s exciting to learn about the neighbourhood and create dishes that will resonate with the people living there. For example, there’s a large Asian population, so I want to explore that even further. It’s a natural fit because, I love working with Asian foods and ingredients.”
Construction for the Bayview Village location will also start in January and is slated to be open around Christmastime 2012.
“It’s exciting and I have an amazing team of people to work with. We’re going to be up to 300 employees, potentially 400, by the end of next year.”