TORONTO’S RESTAURANTS GET CREATIVE TO LURE FILM FESTIVAL CELEBRITIES

If you have a hankering for a Calii Love poke bowl for lunch on the first weekend of the TIFF, you’re out of luck unless you’re Meryl Streep or one of the dozens of other stars who will flock to the city for the annual September event.

Joelle Murray, owner of Grinder Coffee in Leslieville, hugs film star Ryan Gosling after he visited her cafe during last year’s TIFF. Murray used a cardboard cutout of the star in her campaign to lure him. ‘I’ve had visitors from . . . all over the world come and take pictures with me and with the cardboard cut-out.’ GRINDER

If you have a hankering for a Calii Love poke bowl for lunch on the first weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival, you’re out of luck unless you’re Meryl Streep or one of the dozens of other stars who will flock to the city for the annual September event.

The popular fast casual restaurant along King St. W. will close its doors to the public until 6 p.m. on this coming Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday — the festival’s busiest days — to host a celebrity photography studio and lounge in partnership with the entertainment publication Deadline.

It’s a move some businesses might worry would cost them sales, but Calii Love owner Dan Gunam has a different strategy: bringing in celebrities could increase brand awareness and, if they post a snap at his hot spot, deliver plenty of cash when the festival is over from people who want to dine like the stars.

 

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