Mississauga Restaurants That Have Expanded Into Other Cities

 

It's not uncommon for eastern restaurant chains and concepts to make their way west. A lot of Toronto hot spots -- such as Burger's Priest and Smokes Poutinerie, to name a few -- grow beyond the Big Smoke and open locations in Mississauga. 

It's slightly rarer (and therefore always exciting) when a Mississauga joint generates enough buzz and excitement to move beyond our humble borders. 

We decided to call up some restaurateurs who got their start in Mississauga before branching out to other GTA locations and find out how they feel about their success, their roots and their hopes for the future. 

Osmow's

Established in Mississauga: 2001 in Streetsville
How many locations are there? 7 operating locations, 1 food truck, 5 opening within the next six months.
Locations outside of Mississauga: 4

Restaurateur 1: Sam Osmow, president and founder of shawarma giant Osmow's

 

How many Osmow’s locations are there currently?

We have seven operating locations, a food truck and five [more] opening within the next six months.

 

How did you come up with the idea to start Osmow’s? What inspired you? 

At first, the Streetsville location we owned was a sub place called Polar Submarine. At the time, there was a lack of diversification in food options so I chose to incorporate some of the cultural food items into Polar Submarine and introduce them to our customers. I was inspired when I realized our customers have an appetite to try something new and with more flavor so I decided to shut down Polar Submarine and open up as Osmow's.

 

Osmow’s is one of the most successful shawarma chains in the city. What sets it apart? Why do you think you’ve been so successful? 

The flavor is authentic, as all our food is made from scratch. When we first opened up as Osmow's, we handed out free samples at the Bread and Honey Festival. People loved the flavor so much that they made a purchase right after trying it and the word spread from there.

 

How have people outside of Mississauga responded to Osmow’s? Have you seen the same success in other cities?

Locations that opened up outside of the city have been successful right away as our Mississauga locations seem to have paved the way for that success. The Mississauga locations set the standard and we've received many requests for franchises in outside cities based on that.

 

Why did you choose to start Osmow’s in Mississauga?

It's where we live and where our network is the strongest.

 

What are your plans for the future? Will you continue to expand your brand? 

In terms of the future, the sky's the limit. We're growing at a fast pace and we're seeing tremendous success through our franchise owners. They've been doing a great job in keeping the brand consistent and increasing our brand awareness.

 

What do you think makes Osmow’s most appealing to franchisees? 

Osmow's has become a known brand with a loyal customer base; when a new location opens up, it doesn't take long for it to profit. People are seeing the velocity in which Osmow's is growing and they want to join the Osmow's team in the earlier stages and contribute to its growth. A few of our current franchisee owners have purchased additional locations due to their current location's success. They see the value the franchise brings them and therefore invest in more locations.

 

What made you decide to start a franchise?

We had an influx of requests from customers to open up closer to their homes, after opening up three locations of our own. It only made sense to start branching out into franchises from there.


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On a Bun 

Established in Mississauga:
2009
How many locations are there? 3 operating locations, 1 opening within the next month
Locations outside of Mississauga: 3

Restaurateur 2: Rosa Carone, co-owner (along with her husband, Rocco) of On a Bun


How many On a Bun locations are there currently?
 

We currently have three. One on Mavis in Mississauga, one on Queen Street in Toronto and one at Locke and Main in Hamilton. We have another location under construction in Oakville that should be open in a month or so.

 

How did you come up with the idea to start On a Bun? What inspired you?  

My husband and I have always been in the business. We owned a Tim Hortons in the U.S. and we once had a restaurant/hot table at Cawthra and the Queensway on Haines Road called Rocco's Italian Eatery. We had that for two years and then moved to the Tim's in Jamestown, NY. It was a hard market because people were used to free coffee refills, but it was a good experience. Rocco loves food and he wanted to open up his own Italian sandwich franchise. A franchise makes things easy for us, customers and franchisees. We teach [franchisees] how to fry, cook and about serving temperatures. Our most popular dishes are our veal and chicken [sandwiches]. We make everything in-house and have our own commissary.

 

What sets you apart? Why do you think you’ve been so successful?  

I think it's our people. It's our customer service. We treat customers the way we would want to be treated. When I'm spending money, I want quality food made with love and I do that. I'll make something different or adjust something for someone. However we can meet someone's demands, we'll do that.

 

How have people outside of Mississauga responded to On a Bun? Have you seen the same success in other cities? 

I've looked at reviews online and we've had great ratings and customers will say it's the best sandwich and it's rewarding. We will always try to rectify any mistakes.

 

Why did you choose to start On a Bun in Mississauga? 

We're from Mississauga. Rocco is from here and I moved here in 1989. We love it here and know that there was a great opportunity. My family is here.

 

What are your plans for the future? Will you continue to expand your brand?  

We hope to branch out to different locations. We're looking at Milton, Brampton and more spots in Mississauga going forward and seeing how we can get our product out there. Would I like to get as big as Tim's? Absolutely!

 

What do you think makes On a Bun most appealing to franchisees?  

A few people are interested in opening more locations and they'll say something like, 'we wish we had a restaurant here.'  I think it's the simplicity of our menu. It's not overwhelming, which is good for them and their staff. They see our product and see that it really is good. It's all homemade and the recipes come from my mother-in-law. It's all her sauces and spices. 


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Union Social

Established in Mississauga: 2011
How many locations are there? 3 operating locations
Locations outside of Mississauga: 2

Restaurateur 3: George Kakaletris, part owner of Union Social

 

How many Union Social locations are there currently? 

There are two right now and we're days away from opening our third at Yonge and Sheppard. We're excited, thrilled and looking forward it and we think we'll do well there.

 

When did you open your first Mississauga location? 

We opened our first Mississauga location in 2011. We opened our second location in Toronto at Yonge and St. Clair in January of 2014.

 

How did you come up with the idea to start Union Social? What inspired you?  

The other partner, Steve Proulx, we had worked in restos before and loved the industry and were always looking for opportunities and that got us going in terms of developing the brand. Our tagline is "common food done uncommonly well." It comes down to old school hospitality and an addictive menu. We develop a menu people will like, an environment they'll feel comfortable in and service that is attentive. We're casual dining and we'll put our food up against anyone's, but we're not trying to be fancy or complex. It's classics you love served in a way you'll enjoy.

 

What sets it apart? Why do you think you’ve been so successful?  

It starts with the food. Chef Mike Rame has developed a menu that's appealing, appetizing and addictive. Because of our price point, people come back more often. We simplify things and focus on great food and service. The "social" part speaks for itself. We feel like there's nothing better than socializing over food and drink with people.

 

How have people outside of Mississauga responded to Union Social? Have you seen the same success in other cities? 

The response has been wonderful. It's interesting to have a brand come from somewhere else. We felt we had to prove ourselves more, coming from Mississauga. Once people try us, it becomes a non-issue and the business continues to thrive. Our model works well regardless of where we go.

 

Why did you choose to start Union Social in Mississauga? 

A couple factors. Looking at demographics, we were looking for the opportunity to capitalize on [feeding] the business crowd during the day and Meadowvale is a business area -- there are lots of people coming for lunch and dinner. It also didn't hurt that me and my partner live near the resto. The area is a good mix of business and residential. The stars just aligned, in a sense.

 

What are your plans for the future? Will you continue to expand your brand?  

We'd love to continue to grow the brand but we take it one step at a time. We don't want to grow for the sake of growing; we want our growth to be sustainable. We take it year by year, really. We just want three very successful, very well-run restaurants. We want the right area and the right team.

 

Have you considered franchising? 

We've had a lot of request for franchising, but we're not moving in that direction.


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Paramount Fine Foods

Established in Mississauga: 2007
How many locations are there? 19
Locations outside of Mississauga: 11


When did you open your first Mississauga location?

In 2007, we took over the Crestlawn location
 

How did you come up with the idea to start Paramount? What inspired you? 

Mr. Mohamad Fakih walked into the original location to buy his wife desserts and was approached by the owner who was looking for a bailout and Mr. Fakih agreed.

Paramount is one of the most successful Middle Easter restaurant chains in the city. What sets it apart? Why do you think you’ve been so successful? 

High quality Halal meats, consistency, valued customer experience, ambient venues, prayer rooms and children’s playgrounds.

Have you seen the same success in other cities?

Yes 


What are your plans for the future? 

To be the leading Halal resto chain internationally!


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