Call it the Eataly effect. Borrowing the model of that hit chain of marketplace-restaurant hybrids, many gourmet grocery stores have reinvented themselves as dining destinations dedicated as much to serving food and drink as they are to selling it. Hence the arrival of a Pusateri’s complete with a champagne bar in downtown Toronto, and the central wine bar installed in Marché Artisans in Montreal.
Oh, and Canada’s first actual Eataly is slated to open in Toronto’s Manulife Centre next year. While these are fine casual places to meet your old roommate for a glass of vino after work, we never advise bringing a date to a grocery store — no matter how nice its marble flooring is.