Changes on the Drive #69

May showers, eh? What started out as a not-unpleasant cool mist in the air became, by the end of my walk, a steady downpour. Oh well. Who needs a suntan when you can rust?

Right down at the southern end of the core, the old Food Stop at 2289 Commercial is being refitted. A wall has been erected onside making it into two spaces, though there is still only a single door. Could be a private office connected by a corridor at the back, I guess.

There had been some suggestion that perhaps Donald’s produce would be expanding into the Food Stop space. However, a “manager” there that I spoke with didn’t know of that plan.

The Sweet Greek at 2227 Commercial has now been open just under a month. See my review from early April. The owner has lost his big Greek beard since I was there last, but his welcome was just as warm.  This morning I had a mini baklava that was perfect, without any cloying sweetness. Nice place.


At the old Russell’s place at 2068 Commercial, the new construction continues apace.


The old laundry at 2058 now sports a large “For Lease” sign.

Meanwhile, the former Waves Coffee shop at 1850 is still vacant (2 months), as are the old Wonderbucks space at 1801 (3 months), 1740 (7 months), and 1706 Commercial (5 months), along with 1704 E. 1st.  The vacant store at 1735 Commercial is being used this month as an NDP Provincial election office. In Il Mercato, the former Strawberry Bakery spaces continues to be unoccupied after 28 months.

Three big spaces in the core of the Drive continue to flounder: The Libra Room at 1608 Commercial is still closed after 9 months, the “opening soon” signs looking a little weathered these days. Same could be said for the Roma at 1500 Commercial, with little change since the new owner signs went up last month; it has been closed for 6 months now. Across the street at 1447, the Charlatan is still closed, three months after they said they were closing for renovations; unfortunately, there is no evidence of any work being done.

While we are in this mode I might as well mention now that the Tandoori Palace at 1439 Commercial is currently closed though they were actively renovating this morning when I went by so hopefully the closure will be brief.  The “opening soon” Bao Down restaurant at 1408 is still not open (closed now for 9 months). The storefronts at 1303 (7 months), 1108 (36 months!), 952 (8 months), and 902 (24 months) are all still vacant or closed.

There are some positive signs, too.  The pub on the corner of Graveley has been rebranded as The Dirty Penny. I hear that Dolce Amore gelato is planning a sort of re-opening on or about June 1st, with new flavours and delights; can’t wait!  And the Art Gallery at 1704 Charles now has a name, it is called Nina Di Gallery.

Also, the new Rosemary Rocksalt bagel place is now open at 1350 Commercial. It is bright and airy but has the personality of a fast-food joint. I bought a half-dozen mixed bagels and will give them a try.


Finally, the REACH construction in the 1100-block seems to be racing ahead which is good news for all of us waiting for its reopening..


Previous Changes on the Drive editions.


9 Responses to Changes on the Drive #69

  1. pennystreet546 says:

    The Dirty Penny. What a terrible name!
    I thought Rosemary Rock Salt looked and felt like a fast food joint too. The bagels are okay, IMHO, but not as flavourful as Siegel’s.
    I’ll keep buying Siegel’s at the Food Co-op, myself.
    REACH was going to be ready by August, I thought. But I just heard that the reopening is now likely to be October.

  2. drive flaneur says:

    The whole wheat bagels at Rosemary’s Rock Salt are good, as are the cream cheese with hot wholewheat bagel in Tim Horton at the terribly vacant Mall at First Avenue. Coffee not either.
    Then there is Solly’s bagels at Yukon and 7th, 4071 Main (at 25th, hidden in a strip mall, but quieter than Yukon), and West Broadway.
    I find Benny’s Bagels (or Benny’s Cafe) 2505 West Broadway good. And reading a book on the upper mezzanine above the bagel boiler quite satisfying as we watch with amusement all the lit and philo grads writing papers in the Kits location.

  3. jakking says:

    I didn’t really care for the bagels I bought at Rosemary’s; small and rather hard, I thought. Safeway’s bagels from Commercial & Broadway are pretty darned good.

  4. KerryJ says:

    I was told that Donald’s did approach the building owner to lease one of the vacant spaces but was rebuffed.

  5. I note the mention of the “closed for renovations” sign at the old Charlatan space. Why do people always do that? They go out of business and close up shop, and while they’re on the way out the door, they post a Renovations notice. Does anybody believe these notices any more? Do they do this because they’re humiliated at having a failed business? Nobody cares, and the ex-shopkeepers will likely never be seen again in the neighbourhood anyway. Why not just say “The business failed” and be done with it? Why pretend that you are actually very affluent, enough so that you can casually decide to totally re-do the premises? This is a human habit that makes no sense to me.

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