Alchemy was the brainchild of Ben Swirsky and a close friend from university, Matt VanderHelm. It was through Matt’s connections from participating on Masterchef Canada that they brought on board their third business partner, Stuart Vaughan. [Space Is] sat down with Ben Swirsky to hear the story on how it all began, and what it took to get Alchemy to where it is now. “With my background in the Toronto music scene, Matt's background in catering, and Stu's background in the restaurant industry we all brought forward our greatest strengths. We like to consider ourselves a great destination for food, spirits, and music. It's been a great inaugural year. Although Matt has since left to focus on his catering business, Stu and I have kept consistent with Alchemy's direction and vision.”
Offering live music 6 nights a week and having been featured on BlogTO as one of the top 5 restaurant venues in the city - “Head to this Little Italy spot for acoustic shows and Wine and Jazz Wednesdays to pair with charcuterie boards, burgers and your favourite red. Keep an eye out for their occasional buck-a-shuck events featuring live music.”
Why did you choose the name Alchemy? Is there any specific reason?
“There is actually two reasons we chose this name. Firstly Matt and I's love of the album the Alchemy Index by Thrice (The restaurant's namesake). And secondly (plus more importantly), alchemy is the art of taking rudimentary elements and combining them to make something else that is equally fundamentally different and amazing.”
What is the type of vibe that you are going for based on the drink, food, and music curation that Alchemy offers to its customers?
“I think we the vibe we are trying to go for is "down to earth quality". Actually, this space used to be a live music bar / restaurant previously, so the transformation was not too drastic. Mostly cosmetic, branding, and aesthetic changes were made. We offer really great beers, cocktails, food, and music but without any of the pre-tense. We've been told we're a great first date spot as well!”
Describe your ideal or favourite event space. Have you found it? What are some features of different spaces that you enjoyed?
“I'd say Alchemy is pretty close. When I am not here, some of my favourite venues / restaurants in the city include: The Danforth Music Hall, Beast, The Great Hall, and Shoushin. Really depends what you're looking for!”
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