Fire shuts new restaurant

Blaze on the patio causes major smoke damage to glow

Healthy-food guru Rose Reisman was up at 4:30 a.m. for an early-morning TV spot on Aug. 6 when she received some bad news about her newest venture, Glow Fresh Grill and Wine Bar.

“I was at my computer and I see (that at) 3 a.m. one of the executive managers emails, … ‘Glow on fire’,” Reisman recalled. “I thought I was seeing things.”

She wasn’t.

That morning, Glow, which had launched only weeks earlier at the Shops on Don Mills complex, had suffered a patio fire in the wee hours of morning.

Table furniture sitting close to the gas fireplace went up in flames. The smouldering fire set off a gas explosion, causing over $500,000 in damage.

“The patio was totalled, but we were hoping the inside wouldn’t be so damaged,” Reisman said weeks after the incident. “But what happened was there was smoke damage inside, and water from the sprinkler system and the firemen’s hose so we had to redo drywall.”

Now, crews are working 16-hour days so the 560-square-metre restaurant can reopen in early October.

“It’s horrible, it’s beyond words and yet you have to move on and just get it done,” Reisman said.

It’s not the only glitch the restaurant has encountered.

Toronto’s municipal workers strike in July also meant the restaurant was dry when it opened without a liquor licence.

Despite the problems, the restaurant seems to be a nice addition to the neighbourhood, if its first few weeks open are any indication, Reisman said.

“We started feeding almost 450 people a day within three days, so it was overwhelmingly exciting and successful,” she said.

The eatery, owned by Pickle Barrel Restaurants President and CEO Peter Higley, isn’t Reisman’s first foray into the restaurant biz. Five years ago, Higley hired the entrepreneur and cookbook author to devise the healthy food menu for the Pickle Barrel chain.

When Higley approached Reisman with the idea of creating a family-friendly restaurant serving healthy food, she jumped at the chance.

The resto, which seats 200 inside and 100 on the patio, features what Reisman calls a clean menu, with lighter-fare dishes made with local foods and no heavy sauces. She’s proud to note it’s the only restaurant of its kind in Toronto that doesn’t have a deep fryer on the premises.

Instead of giant slices of cake, the menu offers “mini indulgences”, 2-ounce shot glasses filled with a variety of dessert flavours.

The freestanding building is in a central location overlooking the green space in the Shops at Don Mills complex, which is used for concerts in the summer. It transforms into a skating rink in the winter.

Reisman said she’s looking forward to reopening for good.

“Everything’s back on track,” she said. “We’re going to hit hard when we come back in.

“We’ve got some new fall menu items and I think people’s greatest shock is that they’re eating everything they enjoy and they know it’s healthier for them.”

About this article:

By: Karolyn Coorsh
Posted: Sep 11 2009 2:09 pm
Filed in: NEWS
Edition: Toronto