Months after announcing an end to her groundbreaking Toronto restaurant the Black Hoof, restaurateur Jen Agg has a new project in the works: She’s taking over shuttered Toronto icon Swan. In an Instagram post, Agg calls it a “literal dream space” and declares a “firm September opening.”
Swan opened in Toronto’s Trinity-Bellwoods neighborhood in 1997. It was best known for eggs Benedict brunches served in retro diner environs. Agg wrote on Instagram that she used to eat at the restaurant with her parents in the early 2000s and refers to it as one of two options for “a cool dinner spot” back then. It closed in 2015 after operating at a loss, and at the time, Torontonians lamented that there was no replacement in sight.
Agg is opening the new Swan — or Le Swan as Agg is calling it — with with GM and sommelier Jake Skakun and bar manager David Greig (both currently at Agg’s Toronto wine bar Grey Gardens), along with Black Hoof chef James Santon. Agg tells Eater the restaurant “literally fell into our laps” while they were looking for another space. “We are closing the Hoof end of August so we can just transplant the entire staff and open with a well-oiled team,” she says.
Snapped this the day we signed the lease. Literal dream space (or at least I’ve been dreaming of it since I used to eat here with my parents in the early 2000s when you basically had 2 choices for a cool dinner spot: Swan or Terroni—and maybe Taro if I’m being generous). Anyway, worst kept secret in town, very excited to open Le Swan—(the ‘Le’ is for French Diner, but you can just call it Swan) with @jakeskakun @greig_david @caciopapi. Firm September opening—IT JUST FELL IN OUR LAPS COULD NOT RESIST! Don’t worry we’re keeping the booths but losing the ALL BLACK (wtf??) washrooms and YES! We serve Oyster Boy oysters! FULL CIRCLE BABY! CANT WAIT!
Agg says the menu will be divided into “French and diner classics that have some relationship to each other.” It will put steak frites in conversation with meatloaf and mashed potatoes; and pit Parisienne rotisserie chicken against a hot chicken sandwich. “Not that it’s a contest,” she adds. “Everybody wins with comfort food.”
Le Swan is part bistro, part diner, and so far, it’s been an easy transition. “The space is pretty perfect as is. We are just sprucing up the surfaces,” Agg says, and adds. “[It’s the] most stress free build of my career. I’m there every day painting and sanding and really just having the time of my life.”
[Disclosure: Agg has contributed to Eater.com]