One of England’s biggest celebrity chefs is preparing to make his mark in Canada. Jamie Oliver will open his first North American location of Jamie’s Italian in Toronto in 2015 and a restaurant in Vancouver by 2019.
Jamie’s Italian is a chain of casual Italian restaurants that launched in 2008. According to restaurant’s website, there are over 35 locations across the UK, and restaurants in Australia, Dubai, Ireland, Russia, Singapore, and Turkey. A location in Hong Kong is scheduled to open this summer, and another restaurant in Sweden is planned for fall.
In Canada, Jamie’s Italian has partnered with King Street Food Company, a Toronto-based restaurant group that owns Jacobs & Co. Steakhouse, Buca Osteria & Enoteca, The Saint Tavern, and Bar Buca.
In a statement on the Jamie’s Italian website, Oliver says that it was dining at Toronto’s Buca that convinced him to make the leap to open in North America.
“Canada is a place very close to my heart. I'm always excited about spending time there, and whenever I visit, I always get an amazing welcome,” Oliver stated. “For a while now, I've been on the lookout for the perfect partner to open a restaurant with. So, when I tasted the menu at Buca, and found that we had the exact same ideas in mind, I knew I had found the right guys to kick start this exciting project with.”
The Toronto restaurant will open at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. Although the menus at Jamie’s Italian are different at each location, diners can expect to enjoy fresh pastas and pizzas, an antipasti station, meat and seafood. Most of Oliver’s restaurants feature an open kitchen, and shared family-style dining is encouraged.
“We have been excited to be a part of Canadian diners discovering the beauty in authentic, fresh and creative Italian food,” Gus Giazitzidis, one of King Street Food Company’s three managing partners, stated in a news release. “To be able to broaden that experience while filling a gap in the marketplace, specifically making excellent quality dining options more accessible across Canada, is a dream come true and we are thrilled to join forces with Chef Jamie Oliver to make it come to life.”
After opening in Toronto, King Street Food Company plans on expanding Jamie’s Italian to other cities in Canada, including a location in Vancouver. Giazitzidis confirmed to the Georgia Straight that Vancouverites can expect to see Jamie’s Italian open in the city by 2019.
“We don't have a set date for the opening but the plan is to break bread in Vancouver within the next 5 years,” he said. “We have had wonderful guests from Vancouver at our restaurants in Toronto for years It makes us so happy to finally to be able to open a restaurant in Vancouver with someone like Jamie who shares our passion for the artisanal approach to the craft and using only the best fresh, sustainable, and source-specific ingredients.”