Is A&W taking over Toronto's east end?

Photo:  A&W

Photo: A&W

Craving a burger? Spin around and point — pretty soon, odds are there will be one within reach anytime of day in just about any direction in the east end. 

Rebuilt after a fire ripped through several years ago and struggling to find a tenant ever since, after much local debate about what might go in to the expansive space of the brick building on the southeast corner of Broadview and Gerrard in East Chinatown, new signage makes it clear: A&W. 

The burger chain is also opening a location in prime real estate at the corner of Danforth and Greenwood. 

Yet another A&W recently launched at Danforth and Broadview, just north of where the Gerrard location is incoming.

These three new locations join the Danforth and Pape restaurant that popped up in the last few years. 

The burger chain, a familiar sight all over Western Canada since launching there in 1956, opened its inaugural "urban concept" restaurant on Yonge St. a few years ago. It's been aggressively expanding into neighbourhoods across the city ever since.

In article from last year, BlogTO chronicled A&W's explosive growth, noting openings in many of Toronto's most notable communities and high-traffic areas. 

According to Macleans, A&W is underway in a plan to triple its footprint in big cities. Its strategy? Selling healthier meat to a discerning generation.

In 2013, A&W committed to serve only beef raised without the use of hormones and steroids and chicken raised without antibiotics and fed a diet free of animal byproducts.

It’s restyled itself as a quality fast-food option with hip, modern interiors, and an approach that feels less mass-produced and more artisanal than your average fast-food chain. Restaurants have bar seating, touchscreens, updated menu design and free Wi-Fi. At the same time, the chain is cashing in on nostalgia, playing up its history and hawking its old-timey root beer.

A&W followed suit with McDonald's last year and rolled out all-day breakfast. It just might be a viable alternative to the lineups to come with Lady Marmalade's impending move to East Chinatown. 

h/t: Tara Suzanne