We have giant news to announce today, we’ve just launched a Kickstarter to turn our pop-up into a full fledged bricks and mortar restaurant.
Watch the video:
In September I helped Dave launch Loka Snacks, he had moved to Toronto after having an award-winning restaurant in Charlottetown but couldn’t find a home in Toronto that shared the same food values as he did. I believed in his talent and pushed him to quit his 18-hour day job, knowing he’d finding something better. His first day of unemployment he went out for laundry and returned telling me he’d just arranged to launch a pop-up restaurant for one night in our local bar.
The concept is based on Canadian ingredients presented in the simplest way. We’re currently in the back of a bar but we didn’t want to just serve typical bar snacks like chicken wings or sliders.
Our focus has been and always will be zero waste, to use every part of the animal, vegetable or anything we purchase. We use secondary cuts because we want to show respect to the animal for its life, for these are parts that a lot of people just throw into the garbage.
So much has changed in the last ten months and we’re now 4 nights a week in that same bar. Dave makes all the food and I serve it. We’ve had reservation requests from people out of town, in the United States and in Europe. We’ve been featured in Eater and Toronto Life, named in BlogTO as one of Toronto’s best hidden restaurants and I was also recently named one of 20 Canadian Chefs to follow on Instagram by the Huffington Post.
What Does the Name ‘Loka’ Mean?
It was a crazy idea to leave a steady salary and run a pop-up focused on local food. We launched in September without any funding but we did have a credit card, time and experience. So for the last ten months we’ve made a home in the back of Hilo bar, moving from that one pop-up to a 4 night a week residency.
We didn’t have money to promote or advertise but we did have time to reach out and share Loka Snacks on social media. In the beginning we went old school and postered the neighbourhood with Loka Snacks menu items. We did whatever it took to get our name out and it worked.
People say Instagram and social media is a waste of time, but we’ve been able to connect with people around the world who share our values and want to try our food. Now Loka Snacks the pop-up is ready to evolve and become Loka the restaurant.
Loka – The Restaurant
The plan is to open a small, 25-30 seat restaurant with an open concept that could be called a modern diner – cooking in front of guests behind a bar. You can ask questions, or just sit back and relax.
The philosophy is always food first. We want people to feel the connection to everything we serve, the farmers, producers and amazing artisans in Canada. It’s important for us to know where our food is coming from and we want our diners to feel the same when they come in and eat.
We will also offer cooking classes where guests can sit at the bar and ask questions and really begin to understand and appreciate ingredients.
Loka won’t be taking reservations except through Kickstarter rewards, we have some exclusive offers for reservations but otherwise we’ll seat diners as they come.
What Kind Of Food Will You Serve?
The food isn’t changing, it’s always been Canadian ingredient-driven small sharing plates at a reasonable price. We’re not strictly 100km so don’t shoot us for using olive oil.
Our focus will always be on supporting local producers and sharing what we believe is Canadian food. We’ll continue to use secondary cuts and feature plated in house cured charcuterie.
You can come and eat the whole menu or order individual plates.
Dave has been cooking for nearly 20 years, but this last year has been completely untraditional. He took a leap and worked hard, using everything I’ve learned cooking from coast to coast across this amazing country.
And now we’re continuing the untraditional path with Kickstarter. This isn’t a charity. I’m not asking for a donation. Funding this project means you get rad rewards and exclusive culinary experiences.
You can help to make our dream a reality. With a goal of 25k we can begin to look for a permanent home for Loka here in Toronto, and create a comfortable inviting space where people can come and eat great food and have an awesome time.
How You Can Help
1. Please share this Kickstarter campaign on Facebook, Instagram or however you like!
2. Support the campaign. If you’re not in Toronto we have awesome rewards: for $10 or more the Loka Snacks Greatest Hits Cookbook, for $20 your name on a piece of local artwork at the restaurant and $40 a Limited Edition Loka Snacks t-shirt. Every little bit helps get us to our goal.
3. If you live in Toronto we have some amazing rewards like eating at Loka before it opens, or opening night seats or a charcuterie class with Dave.
Kickstarter is all or nothing and if we don’t reach out 25k goal we don’t get any of the funding. The first week is the most important so if you’d like to help us reach our goal please pledge today!