Pop-up IKEA café to set up shop down­town

StarMetro Toronto - - TORONTO -

The fur­ni­ture gi­ant IKEA is try­ing its hand at a pop-up café in down­town Toronto this month to show off its fa­mous meat­balls and frozen yo­gurt — with no as­sem­bly re­quired.

The IKEA Play Café is open­ing Fri­day at 336 Queen St. W., and will com­bine shop­ping, play­ing and eat­ing in the al­most 8,000 square foot space through June 27.

It won’t be a typ­i­cal café, how­ever. In­stead of lat­tes, crois­sants and sand­wiches, it will of­fer frozen yo­gurt and Swedish meat­balls, chicken balls and veg­gie balls, which vis­i­tors can top with dif­fer­ent sauces and waf­fles, fried onions, chips, pick­les or bis­cuits.

IKEA, which has stores in Vaughan, Eto­bi­coke and North York, has yet to open a down­town Toronto lo­ca­tion.

Last year, IKEA hosted a popup on King St. W., which fo­cused on healthy, fun and af­ford­able food. This year’s pop-up will also carry 50 house­ware items that won’t need an Allen key, from pil­lows and ar­ti­fi­cial plants to teacups and cut­ting boards.

There are also games like tic­tac-toe and a gi­ant pin­ball ma­chine made from the re­tailer’s kitchen items.

Ea­ger passersby have been The café will serve up menu favourites. com­ing up to the pop-up since the big IKEA sign went up, try­ing to get in, said head of mar­ket­ing Lau­ren Mac­Don­ald.

But not ev­ery­one is thrilled about the pop-up. Dou­glas Fisher, the pres­i­dent of Toronto food ser­vice con­sul­tancy FHG In­ter­na­tional Inc., called it “a mar­ket­ing gim­mick.”

Still, IKEA is con­fi­dent in its lat­est Toronto pop-up, and al­though it doesn’t have plans to open a per­ma­nent café, Mac­Don­ald said, “We won’t rule any­thing out.” The store will be open Mon­day to Satur­day from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sun­days from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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