A new restaurant in Toronto is hoping to attract diners from outside its own borders, but the eatery is not without its own issues.
Bj’s has become an online destination for tourists looking for an affordable option to visit the world’s largest outdoor dining establishment.
Its first foray into the outdoors is a new restaurant opening in the city’s west end on Thursday.
It is called Bijou and features a deck and terrace overlooking the lake, a waterfall and a view of Niagara Falls.
Owner and restaurant manager Mike Smith says the outdoor dining concept has been in the works for several months, as well as a year and a half of planning.
“We’re trying to create a space that’s comfortable and inviting,” Smith said.
“We have to figure out how to accommodate the needs of everyone.”
The outdoor seating will be offered on the second floor.
Smith says his restaurant will not be a typical outdoor dining experience.
“It will be a place where you can eat in the sun.
It’s not just a place to have dinner,” he said.”
You’re going to have an outdoor dining area, which means we can have outdoor seating as well.
So, we’ve got outdoor seating, but we’re also not just going to offer dinner.
It will be different.”
Smith says Bijous will be the first of its kind in Canada.
“The other restaurants we’ve opened in Canada are all a bit more of a traditional restaurant, where you go in and eat and then you sit down and enjoy the food, and then they close,” he explained.
Smith says it’s also not as big a risk for the city as it might seem.
“There’s not a whole lot of noise coming from it,” he noted.
“It’s a very quiet restaurant.
We’ve got no outdoor seating.
It doesn’t mean it’s not going to be noisy.
But it is quiet.”
Smith has already heard from some of his fellow restaurateurs about the potential of an outdoor seating experience.
But he said the decision to open Bijoux has been a difficult one.
“I think it’s very difficult because I don’t have a restaurant experience,” he acknowledged.
“I’ve never been in an outdoor restaurant.
So it’s hard to say what I’m going to do.”
Bijoux will have outdoor seats on the first floor, but Smith says it will be an open-air setting.
The restaurant will offer a menu with a mix of traditional European and American dishes.
“A lot of what we’ve put together is just a combination of different dishes that we have in mind for different occasions,” he added.
“Some of it will have a seasonal element, some of it’s just American-inspired dishes.”