I think JK has the right plan to survive the so-called "crisis", without lowering standards or going bust in the foodie biz...in fact, he's expanding. Sure, the big-ticket places are going to take a hit, as the all-out platinum-card throw-down meals ala American Psycho
are on the wane.
Gilead Cafe has all the right ingredients to do very well. Big name behind it...trendoid hidden back alley local in an emerging nabe (Corktown)...fresh, quality local artisinal ingredients, and cheap prices. I mean, for the cost of a supersized fast food meal, you get some damed fine fare.
In fact, this is really just their catering/bakery kitchen that they decided to add the cafe as a side element to keep employees busy and make extra revenue. It also gives it a chance to act as a bit of a test lab for ideas, dishes, ingredients, with plenty of willing & satisfied guinea pigs. The only downside is that it's too successful...try getting a table at lunch.
His newly opened Hank's Cafe is the same...doesn't matter what the economy is like, people will always flock to a quality cafe. He also hired a couple of the city's best barristas to make sure the coffee is top notch, as well as offering the usual cheap, but quality cafe food. Plus, it's right next door to his Wine Bar, so "sharing" infrastructure and ingredients with the higher end big brother next door is a huge plus.
Speaking of which...what ever happened with Mark McEwan's "street food" concept. I thought it was going to be part of the city's new street-cart vending system to up the anti on street food from the handy, but boring hot dog carts?
First, Sotto Sotto on Avenue Road just north of Bloor is fantastic.
Bah...just a see and be seen spot...especially during TIFF (celebrities don't actually love these hot spots...they usually just show up wherever their "handlers" tell them to).
If you want a safe bet in Yorkville, then Greg Couillard's Spice Room & Chutney Bar is a better choice.