TOSTO QUICKFIRE PIZZA PASTA
And you can’t reinvent your Nona. We’ve got so much pasta in this city you could string noodles from one end of Toronto to the other. So, why do we need more? Because, when it’s good, it’s wonderful.
We’re spoiled in Toronto by our wealth of choices: we want bold flavours, generous portions, we don’t want to wait and we don’t want to pay. We want to fill our bellies, but not empty our wallets. Enter Tosto, Italian for “determined.”
The word is out, and we can hardly get in the door (and what a door!) Why? The pasta is made from scratch twice daily; the share-size portions are a bounty of fresh vibrant ingredients—the tomatoes are prized Californian Stanislaus; several hundred sheets of authentic Romano pizza dough, each one hand-crafted are delectably crunchy; and the price is so reasonable it must be a mistake. Everything is freshly prepared, cooked a-la-minute and served over the counter. Nobody else is doing this. “How can they make money?” I ask myself on my fifth visit.
This is a new ingenious restaurant paradigm. Look out! These guys have got it down and are the talk of the town and are attracting the condo dwellers, the close by Members of Provincial Parliament, office workers, the detectives and me all with one thing in common: we’ve stopped cooking. More flavourful than home cooking, quality ingredients are served faster and at even less cost than at home.
Michael Lublin, Brand Vice President of the MTY Group Inc, has been involved in food service and hospitality for over 20 years, and tells me, “Our philosophy is a total value proposition that we are a true “home meal replacement,” driven by quality, quantity and price point.” With such high volume, the price can’t be beat.
The MTY Group is the engine behind Tosto. Already operating 3,000 restaurants under 40 brand banners, this is the first “fast premium” concept in Canada. MTY’S CEO, Stanley Ma, has cleverly assembled a smart hip team and a hot sexy brand. “We believe we’re not competing with anyone else,” shares Lublin. “We’re driven to become the leader in the market, because with every dish we serve, one person always wins: the customer.” Through MTY’S franchise and international licensing program, Tosto projects 12 to 15 new stores of sustainable growth within the GTA in the next few years, while three more units are being added to the company’s flagship Bay Street location this fall.
Thin crust sheets of authentic Romano pizza are offered as single, share or group. The Funghi, made with three kinds of wild mushrooms, pecorino, sun-dried tomatoes, béchamel sauce and white truffle oil; and the Brasato, with six-hour slow cooked braised beef, mozzarella, arugula and a sunny-side-up egg are quick-fired in a proprietary recipe that packs as much flavour as it does crunch. A fork full of Aragosta linguine, chock full of east coast lobster, with garlic and olive oil is love at first twirl; while the Polpette is the richest, most savoury textured spaghetti and meatballs I’ve tasted in many a moon. Antipasti, salads and hearty sandwiches will have to wait until I’ve eaten through all the pasta. The range of wines focuses on Italian.
Tosto did not reinvent the wheel. But what Tosto did by successfully combining quality, quantity and a value driven price, was indeed brilliant! Add to this the contemporary design and the utilitarian environment that keeps the focus squarely on the food, you get a perfect fit that makes Tosto’s “quickfire” menu, simply addictive. Nona would be proud! Look for the orange doors ….
YOU CAN’T REINVENT THE WHEEL.