Hip on the strip

[attach]1664[/attach]Hipsterville has hit the Dani.

In an area known mainly for its Greek restaurants it seems there’s a new kid on the block.

A year after opening in the former space of Romancing the Home on Danforth Avenue, The Local Company is turning into a hotspot where fashion shows and music videos take place off-hours. The spot is also attracting a 30-something crowd of young professionals.

“There’s a definite buzz,” says owner Angelos Economopoulos, who lives and grew up along the Danforth.

Modelled after restaurant-clubs like Ultra Supper Club downtown, which serve dinner but also have a bar and lounge component, The Local is a resto five days a week, with a lounge and loft area open weekends after 11 p.m.

People from all over the city, including the Danforth, go downtown to the supper clubs there, Economopoulos says, so he figured he’d open something along the Danforth that will keep people in the neighbourhood.

“The east end is really a happening area,” he says. “The Danforth area definitely needed something new.”

Economopoulos owns a family restaurant just a few doors over, but he says the crowd there is completely different. Though families dine at The Local, it’s not a family restaurant per se, he says.

Customers come from the Danforth, Riverdale, Leslieville and Beach areas but are as far-flung as Mississauga and Richmond Hill.

“People feel like they’re downtown here,” he says.

Though Economopoulos wants new life breathed into the area, he says he’s seeing older Greek businesses and building owners retire and sell their buildings to younger people.

“It’s definitely changing over,” he says of businesses life on the strip.

The Local can be intimidating looking from the outside, he admits, as the curtains covering the large windows are drawn during the day when they are closed.

While the curtains open every day at 5 p.m. with the resto, they’re drawn again at 11 p.m. to create a more intimate vibe, he says.
The inside is cosmopolitan looking, he adds.

“I think people are a bit intimidated just by the sleekness and size of it,” he says of the space, declining to say how much the renovations cost for fear of heightening the intimidation factor.

“It’s a cool vibe.”

Closed Sunday and Monday, the space is garnering attention as an events venue for bridal showers and boutique fashion events.

The resto hosted the Canadian Versace show last year, and recently Canadian rapper and actor Jordan Francis filmed a video there.