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Stemming from the beautiful tea culture of Morocco, Atai means “moments” in Hebrew – and those are what Maher Murshed, the owner of the new restaurant Atai Bistro, hopes to bring to the Junction.
Maher has always had a passion for bringing new and innovative ideas to life. With a long history as an entrepreneur, Maher established a boutique investment firm in 2010 with his wife, Sarah Murshed, called OHS Global Inc. The firm spent several years investing in fascinating businesses across many sectors until eventually launching Atai.
Atai is a French-Moroccan-inspired bistro. The cuisine from this part of the world has been influenced by so many great cultures over multiple generations, allowing Maher and his team to explore various ingredients and cooking techniques to bring their version of this incredible cuisine to life. Atai represents one of only a few restaurants of its kind in the city. Combining the coziness of a French café with a Moroccan restaurant’s vibrant and flavourful style, Atai is warm, inviting, and exciting. “Atai will be a great addition to the already diverse culinary experience that Toronto offers,” says Maher, “and we especially look forward to spicing up the dining scene in the Junction.” But why the Junction?
“Atai was the first restaurant concept that we developed to fit a community and a venue. Usually, we develop a concept first and then look for a location. In this instance, we found a great location in a neighbourhood that excited us with all the opportunities it offered and then worked on a concept to fit the neighbourhood. I hope we got it right! The Junction is truly a warm and intimate community, and our confidence in this community’s future pushed us to think about how we could add value for its residents. The support from people just walking by expressing their interest and excitement over the past few months has been incredible!” Maher and Sarah wanted their first location to be in a location they felt would genuinely appreciate the experience. Creating an environment where customers can take their time to enjoy a meal with friends and family is at the heart of Atai’s philosophy.
The next time you visit Atai for a romantic dinner or long-awaited family brunch, be sure to check if Maher is around! Ask him about one of the many countries he and his wife have travelled to, where they’ve made it their mission to immerse themselves in the culture (and the food). Or perhaps you’ll run into him sneakily buying a delicious cupcake across the street at Bunner’s Bakeshop. So join us in welcoming Maher and Atai Bistro to the Junction!
You can find their full menu of eats and cocktails on their website and their Instagram page. So which dish are you most looking forward to trying?
Member of the Month
Our Member of the Month features will shine a light on the businesses within the Junction and allow customers to get to know their neighbours who run the shops in our community. If you are a Junction BIA business interested in sharing your story with us and being featured by The Junction BIA, contact Carol Jolly, Executive Director.