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Bar Italia’s founder Eugene Barone has been called the father of the Little Italy renaissance. When he opened Bar Italia at 584 College St. in 1987 the area was known more for shoe stores than restaurants. With the restaurant’s move to 582 College in 1996, architects at Giannone & Associates transformed the 6,000 square-foot space into what Toronto Life called the “Best Bar Renovation.” Today Joe Bonavota owns and operates Bar Italia and has enjoyed a long and successful career in the restaurant industry. A native of Little Italy’s Beatrice St., just a few blocks from Bar Italia, Joe is a natural successor in carrying on the Bar Italia tradition for its loyal customers. With the growth of Little Italy’s popularity, “the chic” Bar Italia (according to the New York Times) has since become a College Street landmark. It’s a place for the best in fine dining, a casual pasta and a salad, outstanding wines by the glass and still serves the Panini sandwiches that have been a popular part of its menu since the beginning. There’s also a lot of excitement upstairs at Bar Italia, overlooking College Street, in one of Toronto’s most colourful cityscapes, hosting some of the city’s most happening events. The Bar Italia Private Dining Room, with seating for nearly 40 people, and the upstairs Lounge, which features its own bar area and an stage for live music, are two spaces that work individually or combined for event space.
- Pour Emporter