Today I braved the first snowfall of the season to check out the new Loblaws, which opened today in the building formerly known as Maple Leaf Gardens. I used to live a block from what was for years an empty shell, so I was curious to see what they’d done to the place.
I understand that there was a massive lineup this morning, when they were giving out gift cards, with lotsa local media on hand. Although it wasn’t nearly as long at 11:45, I did have to wait in line a couple minutes before entering. Not that I had a lotta trouble circulating once inside—this store is massive!
Of course, all the main draws are right near the entrance: the hot food counter, the sushi station, the deli and the bakery. I came here for lunch, and got an orange-brazed beef rib with roast potatoes and sweet potatoes. There is some seating in the middle, tables with photos, ticket stubs and news clippings from various concerts at MLG, from Elvis to the Beatles to Nirvana. As for the food, well, it was no longer warm by the time it got to my mouth, but 10 bucks for a meal and a drink isn’t too bad. Maybe next time I’ll try the chicken.
I wandered around for a bit, picking up a few items on sale, and sampling cheese, bread and chocolate along the way. Unfortunately, they ran out of burger samples by the time I got to the front of the line. Some suits with their Blackberries were willing to wait around for the next batch, but not me.
The complex includes a second floor with an LCBO, Joe Fresh and a PC Cooking School. As you take the escalator up there, you can’t help notice the big blue maple leaf made outta seats from the old Garden. I gotta say, I like what they did with the place. If I still lived in the area, I’d surely shop there.