The rumours have been confirmed: Gusto 101 will open a second location at 501 King Street East called Gusto 501. Speaking from the phone from Bali, Indonesia, owner Janet Zuccarini said that she closed on the building a few days ago and will begin a "major" yearlong construction in September after sorting out all the permits.
The ambitious renovation plans are ready to go. Overseen by designer Alessandro Munge (Munge Leung designed Gusto 101, Weslodge, Vancouver's Hawksworth Restaurant), the top two floors will feature a retractable roof but the whole third floor will be housed in a glass cube, perched on top of the building, with a U-bar that will seat up to 22 people and feature a separate kitchen. Unlike the food offerings at Gusto 101 – "we lock into a set menu," say Zuccarini – the new location will allow for "the chefs to be more creative." She aims to match high and low end with a menu that highlights "creative seasonal ingredients." The executive chef "has not been confirmed" but she promises great things. As for the east-end location, Zuccarini says: "There's a feeling I get when I'm in a neighbourhood. It's a gut feeling. I feel the density will just fill in. It just feels cool to me."
Meanwhile, what is Zuccarini doing in Bali? "I'm with a group of friends and we're chasing the next great meal in Thailand and Indonesia," she says over her spotty WiFi phone, but she adds: "Strangely, I didn't have good Thai food in Thailand!" Though the meal at Mama San in Seminyak, Bali changed the game: "I can't even get over it. It was bursting with flavour, the freshest ingredients: so well executed." Good inspiration because Zuccarini is also a partner in Pai, the hotly anticipated new Thai restaurant from Jeff and Nuit Regular, that, she says, should open by May 19th. More specifically she says: "Maybe, not confirmed."
· Via @jjtho