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On Thursday, Scarborough Town Centre officially opened the first phase of a $ 37-million food and dining upgrade, with 23 quick-service food brands on the ground floor and the promise of three premium licensed restaurants on the upper level opening next year.
“This is a double-edged sword,” said Penalosa. “Consumers have a finite amount of disposable income. Do you use it for shopping or dining out?”
As part of a recent $ 550-million mall redevelopment last September, Sherway Gardens unveiled a new Gourmet Fare food court with seating for 1,000 guests, lavishly decorated with 15 chandeliers commissioned by a design studio in Brooklyn, New York.
“On Saturday afternoons, families would try and find a place to sit and they couldn’t find one,” said Sherway Gardens general manager Andy Traynor. “So the kids are hungry – and that’s bad for business because if they’re hungry, they’re irritable, they leave the mall.”
“The restaurants have been a runaway success,” said Traynor.
Yorkdale’s general manager, Claire Santamaria, says shopping centres are replacing main street or high-street shopping, and as a result are starting to more closely reflect the range of dining options available in the city.
Yorkdale relaunched its new eatery, Dine on 3, in a former department store space in 2012, featuring skylights, fireplaces and an outdoor terrace, with a concierge service that allows shoppers to book tables at the food court in advance of their visit. They can call 647-749-SHOP or book online. The mall spent $ 35-million redeveloping the 45,000 square-foot space.
“They know that just shopping is no longer enough, it has to be beyond that,” said Penalosa.
At Scarborough Town Centre on Thursday, an hour after the opening ceremony, it was already tough to find a seat. Among the new food retailers: Naan and Kabob, serving freshly cooked Afghan street food.
“Scarborough itself is a very diverse market and we want to cater to our customers’s taste,” said Horst. “And I think the world of food has changed a lot as well, and our younger demographic definitely appreciates being able to try new things, interesting things.”
The licensed restaurants upstairs will be grouped together, with patio seating under the skylight.