After completing an honours degree at McGill and a year of travels in Japan, John attended the French Culinary Institute in NYC and went on to work at the venerable La Caravelle. He then moved on to Craft, Tom Colicchio’s flagship, where over the course of almost two years John learned the successful business practices and incessant demand for high quality that won the restaurant the James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in the United States. Upon John’s return to Toronto, he joined the team at the acclaimed Splendido where, under Chef/Owner David Lee, he helped to develop sophisticated tasting menus and was proud to be a part of one of Toronto’s best kitchens.

In 2011, John and Erik opened Ascari Enoteca, an Italian wine and pasta bar where there is a focus on “off the beaten path” wines as well as Italian classics. Handmade pasta and inventive shared dishes rule the menu. This was closely followed by the birth of Hi-Lo Bar, a fun neighbourhood rock-and-roll bar featuring great beers, cocktails and snacks, and good times.

Mercury Espresso Bar

Mercury Espresso Bar has been an anchor in Leslieville since 2006, owned by the talented make-up and hair stylist Luisa Duran. 

This small but mighty coffee spot is a staple for actors, directors, and production teams working in the area, along with the artists and residents of Leslieville. You can feel the community vibe as soon as you walk in where you’ll see rotating local artists work on their walls and the eclectic crowd on comfy couches or sitting in the window watching the passers by on Queen street. If you haven’t had a cup of their espresso you may have had it in ice cream form at Ed’s Real Scoop across the street. These kind of collabs make Leslieville a special place and we can’t imagine the hood without Mercury at the centre of it.

Skip to content