Whether you’re looking for your next brunch or cocktail spot, or want to pick up some edible goodies for gifting, celebrate Pride month by supporting a queer-owned food business or restaurant. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite spots in Toronto with owners in the LGBTQIA+ community for you to support this June and beyond!
Looking for a treat this Pride month? Look no further than Craig’s Cookies, a beloved Toronto staple for anyone with a sweet tooth. Owner Craig Pike started his cookie empire when inspired to bake a Poptart into a cookie and he’s been creating over-the-top confections since, like the perfect-for-Pride rainbow chip cookies. With four locations across Toronto, your next indulgence is never far and it only makes it sweeter to know you’re supporting a member of Toronto’s LGBTQ+ community.
Related: The Owner of Toronto’s Craig’s Cookies Shares His Secrets to Sweet Success
Glad Day Bookshop
If you’re in Toronto this Pride month, you can’t miss visiting Glad Day Bookshop. Not only is it the world’s oldest LGBTQ+ bookshop (open since the ‘70s!), but it also serves up delicious eats and drinks from weekend coffee and pastries to cocktails and dinner. You can also catch a meal and a show at their special events (hello, drag brunch!). Can’t make it out to their location in the village? You can also order some goodies from Glad Day on UberEats or Ritual.
Lox + Schmear
This small-batch smoked fish shop operated by badass owner Lev Levine is located in the Saint Clair West neighbourhood in Toronto and is the perfect spot to hit for your pre-party crudites needs or your post-party hangover noshes (hey, we’re not judging!). Montreal bagels, cream cheese in varieties ranging from vegan to horseradish and of course, the house-smoked lox are all available on location or through their online shop.
If you’re feeling like a divey drink that’s outside of the village this Pride month, this classic Queen West haunt is the spot to go! Unpretentious and eclectic, it’s a favourite with many creatives in the neighbourhood and has increasingly more queer-friendly events like drag performances and lesbian nights. Around for over 18 years, owner May is keeping Sweaty Betty’s thriving and serving up drinks into the late-night hours.
Middle Eastern cuisine meets ‘za at Levant, a comfort food fusion joint located in Toronto’s Bloor West neighbourhood. Bringing together Levantine flavours on thick-crusted Sicilian-style pizzas, the space is welcoming to the LGBT+ community, and the food is drool-worthy. With dishes like a chicken shawarma pizza, Caesar tabouleh salad and a tiramisu kunafa for dessert, need we say more?
Head to this cute shop in Little Italy for everything from gifts, confections and coffee. The shop slash event space boasts a selection of unique and hard to come by organic wines and beers and some of the most beautiful bouquets of flowers (no surprise as owner Anton Levin is a trained florist). Check it out and pick up a treat for yourself, a gift for someone special or a grab a pastry snack.
Sabai Sabai brings the flavours of Northern Thailand and Laos to Toronto in what they describe as a peaceful, tranquil, and welcoming marriage of flavour and hospitality. Co-owned by partners Seng and Jason and Chef Nuit Regular and Jeff Regular, the menu boasts an impressive list of cocktails, share plates and larger dishes like curries and noodles and grilled mains. Head into the east end location for a welcoming dining experience, or order and enjoy a cozy meal in.
Related: Chef Nuit Regular brings a warm heart and a keen eye to Wall of Chefs
Banu is the spot if you’re looking for large portions of soul-warming Persian and Iranian food in Toronto that serves up “cuisine, cocktails and culture”. This family-run is led by Iranian siblings including queer activist, restauranteur, journalist (and all-around badass) Samira Mohyeddin. If that’s not enough to get you to check out this Queen West joint, the menu items like Pomegranate Beef Tenderloin, Saffron Lemon Chicken and Charred Eggplant should do it.
Find some of Toronto’s best Mexican at this restaurant that celebrates simple, fresh flavours inspired by the women in Chef Ivan Castro’s hometown of Mexico City. Vegans and meat-eaters alike will delight in the plant-based menu at La Bartola that features jackfruit al pastor tacos, pickled mushroom tostadas and some of the most gorgeous cocktails we’ve seen.
Lavender Menace is a lesbian-owned bar in Toronto’s east end that’s serving up more than just drinks. Enjoy comforting homestyle southern cuisine for dinner with dishes like their Gator Poppers, a seafood creole or deep-fried Oreos for desserts. Looking for a community-based event? Be sure to check out their events calendar to find LGBTQ+ inclusive special events and parties, with plenty catering towards the often-underserved W4W crowd.
Related: Great Canadian Restaurants and Bakeries Run by Women