Café La Gaffe
By YP Contributor

From Restaurant Employee to Restaurant Owner

One sign of a good restaurant is the quality of its staff. If they’ve been there a while, you know you’re entering an establishment that’s trusted and focused on delivering a great experience. And if you find a spot where a staff member thought so highly of it he wanted to buy it, like Nathan Arulappu did at Café la Gaffe, then even better.

Nathan started working at the restaurant and immediately fell in love with its ambiance, food selection, location and team atmosphere. So when the opportunity came up in 2004 to take a more active role in the business, he leapt at it.

“When I went to university, I worked here,” says Nathan. While most of us leave our university jobs behind when we graduate, Nathan was drawn so strongly to Café la Gaffe, it felt like home. His connection to his team is strengthened by the fact that he has maintained his original position in the kitchen, remaining hands-on preparing the food, instead of hiding away in the back.

His employees appreciate seeing him working alongside them, and they can see how invested he is in the restaurant. “We work together as a team,” says Nathan of the staff and owners at Café la Gaffe.

We’re really relaxed and cozy and on both walls, we have a lot of art. People say when you get in here, you feel like you’re in Paris. - Nathan Arulappu, owner
Café la Gaffe, Lunch, brunch, casual dinner, casual dining, French atmosphere, wine list, daily specials, takeout, delivery, patio

Like Dining in a Parisian Café

With the wide variety of eclectic restaurants in the city, Toronto is a haven for foodies. Anywhere you go, there’s always a place to get decent food. Nathan knows this, which is why he’s proud of the distinctive décor and atmosphere that sets Café la Gaffe apart. It’s designed to look like a Bohemian Parisian café, complete with exposed brick walls, matte black tables, neo-impressionist artwork and a funky outdoor patio with Christmas lights strewn about. “We’re really relaxed and cozy,” explains Nathan, “and on both walls, we have a lot of art. People say when you get in here, you feel like you’re in Paris.”

Café la Gaffe, Lunch, brunch, casual dinner, casual dining, French atmosphere, wine list, daily specials, takeout, delivery, patio

A Mixture of French & Mediterranean Cuisines

The food at Café la Gaffe is a mixture of French and Mediterranean, and Nathan definitely has his favourites. “My signature dish, an appetizer, is the calamari salad,” he says. “People love it and so many people come here for that, and also our risotto.”

At the end of the day, once Nathan’s hung up his apron and shut off the lights, he reflects on the two things he loves most about Café la Gaffe: the efficiency of service he and his team provide, and the customers. “Our customers only have half an hour for lunch, so they want food quickly,” he says. “When we can do that for them and they’re satisfied when they leave, that’s very important.”

Café la Gaffe, Lunch, brunch, casual dinner, casual dining, French atmosphere, wine list, daily specials, takeout, delivery, patio
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