By Dan Darrah
After a summer of vacancy, the retail space beneath the Student Learning Centre (SLC) has found a tenant — the chain Thai restaurant, Basil Box.
Basil Box mirrors the style of many restaurants in the area, namely Urban Herbivore, by employing a “build your own box” method — choosing from bases, vegetables, proteins and sauces. Many options are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly.
The company opened its first store in the Square One mall in Mississauga back in July, but aims to make the SLC location its flagship location.
“One of our goals [with the SLC] was to contribute to the vibrancy and animation of Yonge Street, we know Basil Box will achieve this and more,” said Janice Wilton, Ryerson’s vice-president of administration and finance.
But there were other tenants, besides Basil Box, under consideration for the space.
Michael Forbes, a Ryerson spokesperson, said that Basil Box’s owner, Peter Chiu, influenced the selection process. Chiu graduated from Ryerson’s Hospi- tality and Tourism Management in 2008.
Forbes said the tenant’s ability to accommodate students’ needs was a deciding factor. “The project is meant to appeal to Millennials with healthy food options, something that is important to Ryerson and our community,” Forbes said. “[Basil Box] expressed a willingness to have flexible hours during key periods in [Ryerson’s] academic calendar such as exam times.”
The meals at Basil Box are served in an eco-friendly sugar-cane fibre box — which has the Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) Sustainability Committee raising eyebrows.
“If the only environment-based decision is to offer a fibrous container, but neglects to acknowledge all of the other options available, it will warrant action on our part, as that kind of thing is often meant to greenwash a company,” Alexander Waddling, head of the committee said.
But Waddling is “more interested to see if it’s meeting the needs of students beyond all else.”
Basil Box is expected to open in the winter of 2016.