Heard on the Street – March 2020 – Torino Plaza and Banquet Hall Closes
After nearly 40 years of operation, a popular Italian restaurant and banquet hall in Tecumseh closed its doors on January 1. The building where Torino Plaza and Banquet Hall was located at 12049 Tecumseh Road East has been sold says restaurant owner Sandro DeLuca. “We’ve had a good run and been very blessed with loyal clientele, but it’s time to take a step back and recharge the batteries,” says DeLuca. The restaurant started as a take-out spot across the street before moving into larger quarters where it catered to individual diners and large groups attending banquets. The restaurant was established by DeLuca’s father Jerry, a former head cook at the Elmwood Casino. “He was the impetus behind it all,” says his son. “My dad came from nothing, essentially. He was a dishwasher first and worked his way up to owning his own place.” DeLuca is still thinking about the future and hasn’t decided whether or not to re-open somewhere else. DeLuca says he’s not sure what the building’s new owners have in store for his family’s former restaurant . . . but you know Biz X will do our best to find out!
Beer lovers might want to set aside April 18 when WindsorEats stages its first “Masters of the Brewniverse” — a beer-tasting competition featuring as many as six local craft breweries. Organizer Adriano Ciotoli of WindsorEats reports there will be beer-flight tastings during both afternoon and evening sessions with $1,200 in prizes offered for people’s choice and judges’ panel winners. All the breweries will be offering one-off selections, brewed exclusively for the competition. Breweries committed to the competition include: Banded Goose Brewing Co. (15 Main Street East, Kingsville); Frank Brewing Co. (12000 Tecumseh Road East, Tecumseh); GL Heritage Brewing Co. (8728 Howard Avenue, Windsor); The Grove Brewing House (12 Main St. East, Kingsville); Sons of Kent Brewing Co. (27 Adelaide Street South, Chatham) and Top Dog Brewing Company, a soon-to-be-opened brewery. The event takes place inside the Accelerator, 1501 Howard Avenue in Windsor. A limited number of tickets (200 per session) are available online. Tickets for the 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. session are $41 and tickets for the 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. second session (when the winner is announced) are $46. Included in the price is 80 ounces of beer in tasting flights. Food will be provided by Robbie’s Gourmet Sausage Co. (1512 Wyandotte Street East, Windsor).
Lagos Grill — the latest addition to the downtown Windsor dining scene — has been open for about two months, serving traditional Nigerian cuisine to a cross-section of diners. The owner of the restaurant is Lawrence Adu. Manager Tolu Oluleye says business has been picking up steadily since opening day at 433 Ouellette Avenue. “It’s better than we had initially expected,” she says. The menu features a variety of barbecue dishes, jerk chicken, goat meat, plantains and a number of rice dishes including jollof, a traditional dish made from basmati rice, red peppers, onions and tomatoes. Details on weekly food specials can be viewed online.Transforming a former CIBC Bank building in Walkerville into a restaurant, bar and event space, is still about 12 months away from completion, according to the building’s owner, Vito Maggio. He also owns Vito’s Pizzeria (1731 Wyandotte Street East) and O’Maggio’s Kildare House (1880 Wyandotte Street East). Maggio says the project is moving through the planning and permit process. “It’s moving ahead slowly and surely,” he adds. “It’s an amazing building and we want to make sure we preserve as much of it as we can.” Maggio plans to leave the exterior of the 145 year old limestone building, at the corner of Devonshire Road and Assumption Street, completely intact while making changes indoors. Those changes will include a long bar, a rooftop patio and an event space for private parties inside the former bank’s cavernous vault. “I drive by that building on a regular basis and I always wanted to buy it and transform it,” states Maggio. “Some people like to buy Ferraris, I like to buy and repurpose beautiful buildings.” And we like that too!
Plans for a water taxi service between Windsor Yacht Club and Amherstburg, as well as a service between Windsor and Detroit, are on hold, according to the owner and operator of Windsor River Cruises. “We just decided the distances between stops along our riverfront are too far apart and that it wasn’t really feasible for a quick on-and-off service,” explains John Sheridan. “Our end game was always to run a service between Windsor and Detroit, but the cross-border permits and paperwork are pretty daunting, so we have put it all on hold for now and we are concentrating on our core sailings instead.” Sheridan’s company offers dinner and sightseeing cruises as well as special event nights with live music and karaoke. He plans to add paint nights called “Sip and Swirl” as well as Hawaiian and Mexican-themed nights beginning with the first sailing on May 4. “We cater to a lot of repeat customers so we have to keep it fresh and try different events to keep people coming back,” explains Sheridan.
The City of Windsor is holding an open house March 4 to give residents an opportunity to discuss the issue of Short Term Rentals (STR) operated by such businesses as Airbnb, Vrbo and HomeAway. The city, currently, has no regulations governing these STRs and is seeking input to determine whether or not it wants to enact a series of regulations, given the growth of the industry. The open house runs from 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. in the atrium at the Windsor International Aquatic Training Centre at 401 Pitt Street West. An online survey will be open following the meeting and run until 4 p.m. on March 7. To access the survey, visit the customer service link online.