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The second wave: RASA

The impact of the pandemic on our restaurants
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RASA is a Harbord Village staple, located just west of UTSG at 196 Robert Street. Its globally-inspired menu and welcoming atmosphere have attracted a strong community of customers and staff and offered support to the restaurant in recent months. Amidst COVID-19 restrictions, the restaurant is open for takeout. 

Like all restaurants, it has not escaped the pandemic unscathed. I heard from partner and general manager Adam Minster to learn more about RASA and what the people working there have faced.

RASA sits at 196 Robert Street in the Harbord Village. CHARLOTTE HOOD/THE VARSITY

“Our concept for RASA was to create the ultimate neighbourhood restaurant. We not only wanted the people in the Harbord Village/annex area to see us as their local neighbourhood restaurant, we wanted all of Toronto to see it as that. Everything we do, we do with the intention of making people feel comfortable, we strive to create a place that people see as their second home” Minster wrote in a written interview with The Varsity.

The restaurant’s pomegranate harvest margarita. CHARLOTTE HOOD/THE VARSITY

On the topic of food, Minster remarked, “We are all over the map but we always know what direction we are heading. Our main goal, simply put, is to make tasty food. We aren’t concerned with a specific region or style, we are concerned with taste. We want our guests to take a forkful, put it in their mouth, and say ‘oh my god, that’s amazing.’ The menu is RASA, and if you want to get specific you could say it’s globally inspired, representing the diverse nature of Torontonians.”

RASA’s walled heated outdoor patio with retractable awnings.. CHARLOTTE HOOD/THE VARSITY

“The family of guests that dine at RASA over and over again, are the lifeblood of this restaurant. Our job is to provide them with a consistent experience every time, whether that is pre, during or post COVID. Our staff is the number one reason we can keep up that consistency and their attitudes above their skills is what creates it. They make people feel welcomed and loved every single time.”

Chopped salad. CHARLOTTE HOOD/THE VARSITY

“The best way to support RASA and restaurants in general is to… support their takeout program. Also, holiday season is upon us and gift cards are a really good way to support.”

The view of RASA from Robert Street. CHARLOTTE HOOD/THE VARSITY

“No matter what happens in this world, our identity at RASA will always be the same which is to treat both guests and employees like family.”

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