Relations have deteriorated between a trio of food companies and a restaurant on Toronto’s waterfront, where chefs have said they have been left embarrassed by the owner of Loch & Quay.
Since January, three companies have taken to social media in a public spinoff with Loch & Quay owner Ryan Mungal.
None of the business owners involved wanted to report on the matter, but the Mexican food company Tenaz and hamburger company Keto Food Co. have made public statements on Instagram and Facebook about being left to reclaim kitchen space after suddenly losing their space at Loch & Quay.
Earlier in March, Chen Chen’s hot chicken also reported on Instagram having to leave the shared space due to “unforeseen circumstances and unexpected construction”.
Chef Chen Chen has since opened his own brick and mortar on West Queen West, taking over the old Convenience bar space with his fried chicken menu. Tenaz and Keto Food Co. weren’t so lucky.
Tenaz owner Celia Nelson and Keto owner Michael Hay both hit out on Instagram and the public Facebook group. Food industry navigator about their continued search for permanent spaces since leaving Loch & Quay, which has evolved into an experimental ghost kitchen format since the summer.
“I came to work today to find that suddenly there is no more room for us in our shared kitchen,” Nelson said in a message on April 18.
“We just had our busiest day ever, and now we need to prepare for our operations. But we don’t give up that easily.
Nelson reports arriving at Loch & Quay’s kitchen and finding his things packed in boxes.
Hay, who initially said he was kicked out of space, actually later confirmed that he packed his bags and left after allegedly not having access to a kitchen for three consecutive days.
For his part, Mungal alleges that he was blocked from Food and Wine Industry Navigator by Hay’s partner, one of the group’s directors.
Meanwhile, questions have arisen in the Facebook community about Loch & Quay’s operations and the reasons that have led several small businesses to say they have had the rug under their feet trying to find their place during COVID- 19.
Mungal denies evicting businesses from Loch & Quay, telling blogTO he was “caught off guard” about Keto’s departure from space, and that Chen Chen also left the common kitchen “without notice.”
He insists that all vendors be made aware of changes to their kitchen rental contracts, which saw rentals end “on a temporary and occasional basis” in mid-April.
Mungal also says construction has been going on in the 3,000-square-foot space for over a year. He says this has led to temporary kitchen arrangements, but also reduced rents for businesses. Instead of charging rent, he says he recently proposed moving to 50-50 sales splitting, which he says has been a basis of disagreement for participating partners.
All of this, in addition to Loch & Quay, which reopened its own take-out and delivery service, which required a reorientation of operations, appears to have contributed to the fallout.
But not all sellers have left Loch & Quay’s shared kitchen concept. At the time of publication, Ice Creamonology and Taste the Antilles still operate from 390 Queens Quay West. According to Mungal, Brazil Box will join space in May.