Entertainment District

IKEA’s King & Blue Jays Way pop-up inspires condo cooking

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Dilemma 1. Getting to IKEA for the car-less urban professional often means car-sharing or making the trek with a friend who has wheels.

Dilemma 2. Cooking can sometimes be daunting for the condo-dwelling millennial who may not have the time or tools to make even a simple stir-fry.

IKEA is looking to solve those two problems with their pop-up culinary store at King Street West and Blue Jays Way.

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Yes, the iconic blue and white IKEA sign may be surprising to see in the downtown core but the store is really there, but only until May 26.

The store is more than a store, with each room designed to be a room in a home; a living room, a dining room, a pantry, a kitchen, 

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a dessert room (wishful thinking) and a patio — each immaculately decorated and full of IKEA products dedicated to food.

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Each room is stunning and picture-perfect. The dining room table looks like it’s been ripped out of a home magazine, with the dishes matching the napkins and the glassware sparkling like it’s never seen a drop of red wine or a cheap dish soap.

The hashtag #StartFooding is everywhere in the store and signs on the walls include statements to inspire people to cook and get their culinary efforts organized.

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“The pantry can be a scary mess,” reads one sign, with all the words crossed out. Under it, “the pantry can inspire us” instead.  “A lot of people are intimidated by cooking and being in the kitchen,” IKEA representative Salisha says as she takes 416 Mag around the shop. “But rules are meant to be broken.”

From Monday to Friday from 4 to 8 p.m., free food (meatballs and veggie balls) along with sparkling juices are free, making the visit an experience more than a shopping stop.

And if you want to grow your own food — the shop provides seeds to grow your own herbs. You fill up your own envelope with dill, sage, parsley, and basil.

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Products in the store — items such as meatballs, veggie balls, muffin mix, spatulas, and measuring cups — can all be added to your “shopping cart” via a wooden spoon.

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Yes, a spoon.

You pick up a spoon at the front of the store. The spoon contains a chip that you then tap over the product you want.

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At the cash register, you review the items you’ve chosen on a computer tablet, someone gets the item from storage and you’re on your way.

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The shop is open May 13-26, Mon-Fri, 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. and Sat. and Sun., 10 a.m –  6 p.m., closed on Victoria Day, May 23.

Diana Pereira

Diana Pereira is a journalist, a university journalism teacher, a world traveller, a fair-weather kayaker, and a frequent bruncher. She's working on her mermaid status, travelling to as many countries as she can that include a body of water and when she's home in Toronto, you can find her in a kayak on Lake Ontario.

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