Help Start The Gravy Train Restaurant in Toronto

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Chew-chew, Toronto! Two residents campaign for a new restaurant to meet the heightened demand for gravy in our city.

All aboard! The Gravy Train, a restaurant concept loosely inspired by local political rhetoric is coming to Toronto. The project is being crowd-funded on Indiegogo where supporters are rewarded with tasty food when the train arrives in Spring of 2013. The campaign, website and social media profiles give us a glimpse of the project, which tantalizes taste buds while tickling funny bones.

“There’s been a lot of ‘gravy talk’ around Toronto in the last few years. Torontonians are edgy and it’s not because of politics. It’s actually because we’ve been subconsciously craving gravy,” said James Applegath, co-founder of The Gravy Train project, along with business partner Craig Brissenden.

While the restaurant name was initially inspired by local issues, the pair insist the politics stop there.

“Sure, we’d love to have Mayor Ford, Adam Vaughan, Gord Perks and the rest of our city’s passionate politicians for lunch,” said Brissenden. “Right or left, we don’t care which hand holds their forks. We’ll just keep serving them delicious food so their mouths are too full to talk politics.”

Yet with a name like The Gravy Train, bet on gravy being a hot topic. Think: bacon-infused gravy alongside beer-brewed gravy or an organic maple syrup variety. The restaurant calls itself a “dippery” because of its wide selection of dips and dippable items.

“We’re catering to the basic human desire for dunking delectable food into delicious dips,” said Brissenden. “But we’re also taking a healthy approach to our ingredients and cooking methods. Our wings, for example, will be baked, not fried. Organics will be no stranger to our menu and we’ll be sourcing locally as much as possible.”

“Dip Engineers” James Applegath and Craig Brissenden, long-time friends who met in high school, have partnered for this project. Applegath co-founded Nasa Dance Pub, a popular Queen Street West venue which thrived for five years. As an award-winning online entrepreneur, he currently works as a consultant marketing small businesses on the web. For more than a decade, Brissenden has been in the restaurant industry. He was the general manager and head cook at The Bistro on Avenue, the restaurant which spawned the St. Louis Bar & Grill franchise. He contributed to the success of several other locations and was instrumental in launching a new location a few years ago.

The Gravy Train’s website ( is currently live and offers a sneak peek at the menu. The site even includes a waiver for customers who are daring enough to try their 3rd Rail Suicide Sauce.

Future customers will be pleased to know the site is equipped with a voting booth to offer ideas in shaping the future of the restaurant. The first in a series of votes asks visitors to decide which Toronto neighbourhood they’d want The Gravy Train to call home.

“While launching this restaurant, we’re reaching out to Torontonians every step of the way to make sure we’re on the right track. Go to our website and vote and contribute - it’s your duty,” said Applegath. “It’s been a blast building our online presence and this train is destined to keep on chugging. Keep your ear to the ground and connect with us online so you don’t miss your stop.”

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