"It's 3:51 p.m., and chef Ashley MacNeil is busy planning how to run out of food. Sunday brunch service has ended at Toronto's Farmhouse Tavern, and she has already cubed and deep-fried the morning's excess biscuits into croutons to adorn tonight's house salad. Now she is fretting over an excess of shaved Brussels sprouts, which isn't something she wants to freeze. She sighs and hopes it'll be a big salad night.
MacNeil eyes the shimmering skin-on fillets of trout. Fourteen will be enough for tonight's Fish Dish entree, she decides, and she asks one of her cooks to double wrap and freeze six, which she'll later cure into gravlax. "You want to run out, but you want to make sure that you have enough of a selection so people come back," says MacNeil, 34. "It's a weird teeter-totter game."
That game begins around 5 p.m., as the horseshoe-shape restaurant begins to fill with diners ordering "buck a shuck," or 1 Canadian dollar ($0.74) oysters. The promotion is just one of eight hourly food and drink discounts designed to attract and retain customers on Sunday evenings. The goal is to sell out of perishable food and open bottles of wine so that Farmhouse can shut up shop with an empty refrigerator for the three consecutive days, when it is closed. Oh, and this weekly event is called F*** Mondays.
Come again? The strong language stems from owner Darcy MacDonell's lifelong dread of the coming workweek and how, in the restaurant business, quiet Sundays lead to either throwing away food or freezing it. Because he is adamant that "freshness is omnipotent," refrigerating unserved items and corking wine bottles are not options.
That philosophy led MacDonell to create Farmhouse's compelling offer: Come thumb your nose at Monday by enjoying an affordable evening that'll help us finish our food and drink."
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