An acclaimed celebrity chef who hails from Brampton is bringing two unique new restaurants to the city he’s proud to call home.
Jason Rosso, the well-known toque behind the on-trend and modern J. Red & Co. restaurant on Main Street, is working on two new grab-and-go restos that will add a little more unique (and tasty) flavour to Brampton’s ever-growing downtown core.
The two quick service restos will focus on two very different things: pizzas and salads. The salad bar-style resto, which will be called the J. Red Express Snack Bar, will take shape inside Nom Nom’s Yogurt Bar + Cafe on Queen St. in the city’s downtown core. Run in conjunction with the yogurt joint (Nom Nom’s isn’t going anywhere), the snack bar will feature a plethora of salad toppings and ingredients that are a little off the beaten path.
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“We’ll have really fun snacks,” says Rosso. “It’s going to be primarily lunch-oriented, all fresh products. The primary business will be a custom-built salad bar with a salad artist and fresh, unique ingredients. We’ll have really cool health-focused fruits, different nuts and cool protein options. We’re known for our grab and go snacks too, [so there could be] mac n’ cheese spring rolls and a really cool organic hotdog pogo with a hot Canadian mustard.”
Rosso says patrons can expect unique twists on eclectic ingredients and that diners will be able to try some interesting protein options, including agedashi-style tofu or Indonesian-style beef satays. The resto could also offer Mexican-style chicken, pulled pork and beef brisket.
The second restaurant, which also be coming to the downtown core (although the final location has yet to be announced), will be called Rocco’s Pizzeria and Sangwich (although Rosso says this is something of a working title).
“Rocco’s is grab and go totally,” says Rosso. “It’s a New York-style gritty pizza joint with twist.”
Rocco’s will offer 12 inch, personal size pizzas with myriad toppings.
We’re doing really unique pizzas,” he says. “We’ll do pizza with stuff you wouldn’t normally see, like brisket, butter chicken and pulled pork.
Rosso says the resto will also offer a “Dirty Sanchez” taco pizza, a reuben pizza and eclectic calzones (for those who prefer those over pizza).
In terms of price points, the chefs says diners can expect reasonably-priced fare.
“Both are reasonable, they’re everyday kind of places,” he says. “The salad bar is custom, so you can get a $6 or $12 salad. Snack bar will be about $8-$10. At Rocco’s, you might spend around $10 to $12.”
In terms of atmosphere, J. Red’s Express will be a spinoff of the original J. Red & Co. brand, meaning diners can expect something industrial, funky and urban. Rocco’s will be a little grittier, styled after the typical no-frills NYC pizza joint.
As far openings go, Rosso says he expects both restaurants to open before Christmas.
“I’m super excited about opening both these places,” says Rosso, adding that it’s been interesting to see the evolution of the typical Brampton diner.
“Brampton is coming around, it’s become more user-friendly and is attracting a bigger crowd,” he says. “With J. Reds, we pushed the boundaries. Brampton is a big city, but a bedroom community. We’ve definitely shown the city that there’s a different way to eat and we’ve seen a huge interest from diners who were once meat and potatoes people going for a cool Thai shrimp dish or chicken and waffles.People gravitate towards it.”
We’ll keep you updated on new opening details as they emerge.