TORONTO, October 30, 2020 – Villa Charities Inc. (VCI) today announced its partnership with the Toronto-based food services company, The Food Dudes. Effective immediately, The Food Dudes will become the exclusive provider of all retail and catering food operations on the Villa Charities campus. This partnership provides an opportunity to enhance and expand food services through the development of exciting and creative new food offerings with an Italian focus.
For almost 50 years, Villa Charities has been a destination for the Italian Canadian community in the GTA. Working with The Food Dudes allows Villa Charities to continue strengthening its partnerships with companies who are aligned with VCI’s mission of enriching lives through experiences and services that honour Italian culture and heritage, and who are industry experts with a passion and reputation to elevate the Villa Charities campus experience.
A new location for Pantry, The Food Dudes’ popular quick-service food venue, will open in the Columbus Centre, replacing Caffè Cinquecento. Renovations to the space are currently underway with the opening date to be announced at a later date. Restaurant operations at Ristorante Boccaccio will be closed effective immediately however the space will continue to be used for Villa Charities and Columbus Event Centre clients, and then be further transitioned into a new event venue. The Food Dudes will also take over the food services for all Columbus Event Centre events going forward.
Over the past decade, several strategies have been developed and implemented to address increased local competition and declining sales for Villa Charities’ food operations, which have been further impacted by the COVID-19 public health crisis. Following a comprehensive analysis by an independent food services consultant and public RFP process, The Food Dudes were selected.
“We are extremely pleased to partner with a company who are leaders in Toronto’s food and hospitality industry. We are confident this union will offer a greater variety to our community and patrons as well as raise the quality of service and products,” said Anthony DiCaita, President and CEO, Villa Charities Inc.
This alliance also accommodates the evolving tastes of the intergenerational community at large and considers the changing trends in retail food operations. The Food Dudes’ operations at Villa Charities will generate greater business revenue by encouraging patrons to experience more casual dining options (such as grab & go, delivery) and revitalize the Villa Charities campus as a culinary destination for people from across the GTA.
Since starting in the food industry over a decade ago, The Food Dudes have had enormous success in both the retail and catering business and have a proven track record of continuous growth. In recent years, The Food Dudes have gained a wealth of experience taking over restaurant spaces and food service operations within existing institutions, including cultural centres. In 2018, The Food Dudes assumed the Gardiner Museum’s catering program while completely redesigning and relaunching their restaurant space – now known as CLAY and receiving buzz as one of Yorkville’s hottest lunch destinations.
The Food Dudes’ partnership with the McMichael Canadian Art Collection is currently in the construction stage, with restaurant renovations underway. In addition to their fine dining restaurants Rasa and Sara, they are also catering providers for Toronto landmarks like Evergreen Brickworks, The Globe & Mail Event Venue and Steam Whistle Brewing, with the newly opened Steam Whistle Biergarten enjoying immediate acclaim.
“We are beyond grateful for the opportunity to partner with Villa Charities as the Food and Beverage provider at the Columbus Centre,” said Lindsay Klein, Chief Executive Officer, The Food Dudes. “The culture we seek to uphold is inspirational and we know long time patrons and newcomers alike will find comfort in the high standards of our food services.”
Villa Charities is collaborating with The Food Dudes to develop a seamless transition plan for the operations of all food services.
About Villa Charities Inc.
Villa Charities Inc. (VCI) is a registered charity and non-profit organization that enriches lives through experiences and services that honour Italian culture and heritage. For almost 50 years across the GTA, Villa Charities has provided cultural and educational programs and supported culturally sensitive long-term care and independent living apartments for seniors. VCI fulfills their mandate through a broad range of activities, services and facilities, both directly and in conjunction with its affiliates and independent Italian organizations. Affiliates include Columbus Centre and Joseph D. Carrier Art Gallery; Villa Charities Foundation; Villa Colombo Homes for the Aged Inc. in Toronto; Villa Colombo Seniors Centre (Vaughan) Inc. Di Poce Centre; and Italian Canadian Benevolent Seniors Apartments Corporation/Casa Abruzzo Benevolent Corporation with apartments for independent seniors (Caboto Terrace, Casa Del Zotto and Casa Abruzzo). Each of these organizations is an integral part of the Villa Charities family with separate legal status and its own governance Board. For more information visit villacharities.com.
About The Food Dudes
Since joining forces over a decade ago, The Food Dudes have grown their once small, home-based operation into Toronto’s most revered, innovative and adaptive catering and food service company. Executive Chef Adrian Niman founded The Food Dudes in 2007 and partnered with Chief Executive Officer Lindsay Klein in 2011. The pair built a world-class team of passionate professionals, and quickly distinguished themselves as industry leaders. The Food Dudes consistently raise the bar by anticipating and fulfilling the dynamic needs of the modern metropolitan client – a desire for fresh and local ingredients, sophisticated original fare, flexible budgeting plans – all while providing a memorable culinary experience. From catered affairs of all styles and sizes to food trucks, restaurants, fundraisers and signature food-driven event experiences, The Food Dudes are Toronto’s most trusted hospitality specialists and premier providers of all things edible. Visit thefooddudes.com for more details.
Pantry started as a local take-out counter, providing fresh and healthy meals to The Food Dudes’ staff and the local Leslieville community. When people began coming back every day for more of the daily dishes coming out of Pantry’s kitchen, the storefront’s signature Hot & Cold Windows were introduced, and its Custom Combo Boxes soon took off.
“The ability to mix and match menu items for a different meal each day of the week resonated with our guests,” says Executive Chef Derek Wasser of Pantry’s rapid rise. In 2016, Pantry expanded to a sit-down restaurant in Rosedale and Catering for Events. The Commerce Court location opened in 2019, followed by the Meals for Home Delivery program in 2020. In all its endeavours, Pantry maintains the highest standards of freshness and quality. With new retail spaces in the works, an inspired catering operation going strong, and more innovative ways to provide a casual and comforting dining experience, Pantry is an essential part of Toronto’s culinary character.
For further information, please contact:
For Villa Charities:
416-640-5525 Ext. 230
Kathleen Sloan, CM
Director, Marketing and Communications
Villa Charities Inc.
416-789-7011 Ext. 309
For The Food Dudes:
Chief Executive Officer
The Food Dudes/Pantry
647-340-3833 Ext. 201