Siblings Caley and Connor Gibbs have been visiting the Dundas Street Grille in Etobicoke since they were children.
“Coming here is like eating a homemade meal,” Connor told CTV News Toronto.
“Every time you walk in, they remember you by your first name,” Caley added. “The people are phenomenal, and the food is just incredible.”
The siblings knew their favourite family-run restaurant was being hit hard during the pandemic. Not only did Dundas Street Grille close for three months, but there’s been ongoing construction outside of the establishment. Then, in October, modified Stage 2 restrictions were put in place.
“To have all of this construction outside and the closures on the indoor dining, it’s very difficult,” Caley said
“We heard that they were going to be shut down for Thanksgiving, so we started talking about ideas to help them out and get them through the tough time,” Connor explained.
The Gibbs family, with the support of their own family-run business Gib-San Pools, decided they wanted to support the restaurant while also giving back to their community. They committed to purchasing 200 to 300 meals a week from Dundas Street Grille for four weeks and then giving those meals to their staff, front-line workers in the community and a local women’s shelter.
“We wanted to really show our gratitude and appreciation for those who have worked really hard during these trying times,” Caley said.
Michael Evangelo is one of the owners of Dundas Street Grille. He says he “can’t say enough” about the Gibbs family and their efforts to support his business and help others.
“When they came to us, you know, everybody looks at Toronto as such a big city but to see this sense of small community, it was really inspiring,” Evangelo said.
“They’ll give us an order, we’ll prepare it, we’ll get it all ready for them. They’re picking up food, they’re delivering it to people. They’re just doing what they can for their community and at a time like this, it’s so commendable.”
Connor says that being a family-run business that is able to help another family-run business is a “blessing.”
“It’s a good way for us to show appreciation for our own staff, while concurrently helping out a business that we really love,” Connor said.
“We’ve been in the Etobicoke area forever, so to be able to give back to a local gem within our community feels really great,” Caley added.
Evangelo says having a family help support his family’s business has lifted all of their spirits.
“They didn’t have to do this,” he told CTV News Toronto. “And the fact that they did and they chose to partner with us to do it, it really means the world to us.”