A pig-themed café has landed in Leslieville

Why did the owner choose a pig theme? Read on to find out

Menu board and order station of Leni Poki.
The new café, Leni Poki, had many patrons on opening day enjoying their themed food and drinks. (Mackenzie Heidrick/The Toronto Observer) 

A pig-themed café is a new fixture on the border of the Leslieville and Riverdale neighbourhoods.

Leni Poki on Gerrard Street East had its grand opening on April 6, and people from the neighbourhood were curious to try their drinks and food, each with a “pig addition.”

“I’ve been watching them open, wanted to support the neighbourhood and try something new,” said Tom Fidgen, the owner of The Unplugged Woodshop across the street. Fidgen supported the grand opening by getting two poke bowls.

The café sells different kinds of boba tea, milkshakes, and poke bowls, all with a pig theme.

The additions are shaped embellishments to the food or drinks, such as a frozen treat on top of the boba tea drink that looks like a pig, or pig-shaped rice in the poke bowls. The milkshakes come with a cotton-candy head.

The other items on the menu all have a pig-themed element to them as well.

poke bowl close up
The Hammin’ It Up Chicken Bowl was a popular item at the grand opening of the café. (Mackenzie Heidrick/The Toronto Observer)

According to the café’s Facebook page, they are the only pig-themed café in Canada and are very proud of it. They posted in their neighbourhood groups to build publicity for the grand opening.

The pig theme was chosen because “I love pigs so much. Pigs are chubby and cute,” the owner of Leni Poki, Pham Duy, said.

Duy said the neighbourhood has been very supportive of his opening and always checked in on his progress. He said he is very grateful to be a part of the community and plans to move to the area to live nearby soon.

Owner with art.
Pham Duy drew and painted all the artwork in his café. (Mackenzie Heidrick/The Toronto Observer)

Duy is an artist and an art teacher. He hand-painted the many art pieces and murals in the café. He said his students also helped him choose the theme as they had a big influence on his choice.

The opening drew many students from the high school nearby and children coming with parents. Two of them said they were attracted by the theme.

“It’s very youthful,” Wendy Fang, a customer at the grand opening, said.

Milkshake with cotton candy head and art of pig.
A strawberry milkshake with the head of a pig made out of cotton candy is a fun addition to the menu. (Mackenzie Heidrick/The Toronto Observer)

The signature bowls include the piggylicious tuna mango bowl and the pig-nificient strip steak bowl. The flavours of the milkshakes feature kiwi and ube on the menu.

Grand opening sign on Leni Poki storefront.
The grand opening of the café was on Apr. 6. (Mackenzie Heidrick/The Toronto Observer)

Duy has opened other restaurants with colleagues as well, including the Poop Café on Bloor Street West, which he says is doing well.

The Poop Café is also themed, with bowls and chairs shaped like toilets and the poop emoji on almost all the dishes. They have dishes including milkshakes and bubble waffles.  

Themed restaurants and cafés have been popping up all around Toronto and the GTA as their popularity grows. Some other themed cafés include the Unicorn Café on Danforth Avenue, and It’s The Cat’s Meow Café on Robinson Street.

Boba tea has also risen in popularity along with poke bowls. With boba tea originating in Taiwan and poke bowls originating in Hawaii, they are commonly paired together in restaurants such as Leni Poki. The rise has been seen with many stand-alone boba shop brands such as Coco and Chatime opening new locations all over the GTA.

The section of Gerrard Street where Leni Poki is located has developed over the years, and a strip of new restaurants and stores have opened.

Duy said he plans on opening another location of Leni Poki downtown soon.

About this article

Posted: Apr 18 2023 9:00 am
Filed under: Business Food News