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ICYMI: The Ward trifecta complete with new food spot Sugo Mercato

The Italian market and takeout spot opens next week at 60 Ontario St.

This article was previously published on GuelphToday.

Alex Tami’s parents grew up in The Ward in the 50s when it had plenty of grocery stores, bakeries and delis. He wants to bring something similar back to the neighbourhood.

When he and his team were looking for a soup and sandwich spot to open, the opportunity came up to lease a unit at 60 Ontario St. After looking at the space chef James Stephenson said it would work great as a market.

Sugo Mercato will complete the trifecta of hospitality oriented businesses at 60 Ontario St. which includes Standing Room Only and Double Rainbow Café.

The concept is a local grocer mixed with a spot for fresh pasta takeout and seasonal pastries. 

People may know the owner, Tami, from Sugo on Surrey. It opened in 2018 as an upscale Italian inspired restaurant. Sugo Mercato is more low key and will use the same quality ingredients as the restaurant. 

The name roughly translates from Italian to sauce market and is set to open next week.

“The menu is going to be pretty huge for the 900 square feet,” said Tami. 20240605sugomercatosb4

Soup and sandwiches along with pasta, pastries, pizza kits, fresh and frozen take home dishes will be offered at the market.

Tami is working with Heritage House Farms to bring in local produce to sell. Along with grocery items there will be retail items like soaps, pottery, candles and charcuterie boards. 

Pastry chef Laura Tytler had a taste of residents’ interest in the business last week during The Ward Night Market when her pastries sold out within 90 minutes.

She’ll be making Italian donuts called bomboloni with pastry cream fillings like Nutella, pistachio, coffee and lemon. There will be other desserts like cinnamon buns and gelato. “I believe we're going to have the best donuts in town. We're going to have the best gelato,” said Tami.

He said everything Tytler makes is the best he’s ever tried.

Stephenson is excited to make fresh pasta for the market. It’s something simple people love, he said. Customers can get a bowl of fresh pasta to go or buy the pasta and sauce separately so they can make it at home. Jarred sauces like pesto, romesco, tomato and cream sauces will be available.

The provincial government will allow corner stores to sell beer, cider, wine and ready-made cocktails come Sept. 1. “It's going to be a lot easier for us to carry a lot more inventory and make it cheaper for people in the neighbourhood,” said Tami.

He sees it as a good opportunity for the market and will be selling bottles of wine to pair with pasta.

Since it’s neighbours with Standing Room Only and Double Rainbow Café, Tami said Sugo Mercato is a perfect fit. It will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The businesses complement each other, he said. Customers can get a bite to eat at one spot, coffee at another and a cocktail to end the night.

“It feels like home. I know a lot of the people over here. So again, that's why I opened here because I felt like people needed something like this,” said Tami.


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Santana Bellantoni

About the Author: Santana Bellantoni

Santana Bellantoni was born and raised in Canada’s capital, Ottawa. As a general assignment reporter for Guelph Today she is looking to discover the communities, citizens and quirks that make Guelph a vibrant city.
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