Suburbia is many things, unfortunately, food destination it is not. With the food landscape being dominated in an almost vice-like grip by franchises with identical menus, Square One is giving it the old college try and changing its food court into a fully functioning food destination.
Food Central is part of a $320 million development project, which includes expanding the current Square One property and steadily adding key new retailers (including Topshop and Topman, Forever 21 and eventually Holt Renfrew) further solidifying Square One as a major shopping destination in the west end. $84 million of the Oxford Properties’ development project is being dedicated to the Food Central revitalization, including eight new food retailers, improved seating and washroom facilities and much like its predecessor, the Eaton Centre’s Urban Eatery, scullery service to help cut down on waste.
Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to go and see what all the fuss was about at the official launch of Square One’s newly dubbed Food Central. Upon entering the brightly lit space, I was greeted with a velvet rope, red carpet, and best of all a glass of bubbly. Because let’s be honest, if you’re going to make the trek out to Mississauga, it might as well be worth your while. Food from many of the new vendors were featured — sushi from Su & Shi and burgers from Big Smoke burger being among the favourites sampled, although notably absent was Chipotle, which is set to open in September.
James Cunningham, the charismatic host of Eat St., kept the crowd engaged as the host of the festivities, explaining that despite his big city sensibilities, he grew up in Milton and frequented Square One as a youth. James shared his thoughts on the changing Canadian dining scene, stating that, “We’re seeing a lot more experimental diners, people are more willing to try new things.” James emphasizes that we’re seeing a more mature dining palette on the scene: “People now want to eat on the go, but they want to eat well.” James also revealed that another 26 episodes of Eat St. have been picked up, so we can once again salivate over our TV screens while cursing our empty fridges (or maybe that’s just me).