For Adam Grant, it’s all about the little things – the tweaks and small changes. So, when the new owner of the former L’Avenue Bistro on Bayview Ave., Cindy Stiller, asked him to stay on after the ownership switch, he was happy to do so. His reasoning was that what he saw in the bistro was basically good, and just in need of those small tweaks. Cindy and her husband had been regulars at L’Avenue, which reminded them of a favourite haunt in Paris. So, in ownership, she wants it to retain that same ambiance and neighbourhood look. And she wanted to retain Adam.
Hired as a consultant by the previous owner, Adam has stayed on as manager of the “new” bistro and helped put those changes in place. L’Avenue is now Avenue. As of the beginning of December, there were new floors, a “proper” bar and an improved heating system, but the restaurant will still look familiar to anyone walking in who hasn’t been there for a while. The same excellent staff run the kitchen. Jesse and his team there do “amazing work,” says Adam. There is “nice presentation and good timing.”
And the tweaks continue. Adam and his team noticed that when Avenue was closed between lunch and dinner, people passing by kept pulling at the door to get in, so the bistro started serving tapas-style dishes between 2:30 and 5:30, and are doing well with the new addition. Jesse and his team have perfected a baguette – so now in the mornings, starting at 7, the bistro offers light home-made French dishes, along with croissants and baguettes, as well as coffee, of course.
Adam has always been comfortable working in food establishments. He started as a bus boy at 15 and then worked his way into the kitchen. He has no formal foodservice or restaurant training, but has been a keen observer along the way and “learned from good operators.” Now, he prefers to be “on the floor,” and he likes small eateries because he feels they have a “larger sense of community, and people will actually talk to others.” Avenue fits this bill perfectly.
He’s looking forward to seeing how his tweaks will make the bistro even better. “It is great to be proud of the food you are putting down on the table.” However, there are always things that don’t go as planned, and solving those issues keeps it fun.
Another plus is that he is working in a neighbourhood he knows. His mother, the owner of Grandma Mary’s Fudge (profiled previously in Leaside Life), lives just up the street on the other side of Bayview.