NBA Finals, Kawhi Leonard, and the Toronto Wine Scene

Good day, fellow wine lovers! It’s a special day today: the start of the NBA Finals. Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors will be pitted against Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors. To celebrate the day, we thought we’d share some interesting wine-and-basketball-related news. We’ve got some interesting tidbits for you about Kawhi Leonard, the Toronto Raptors, and the restaurant scene in Toronto in general. Grab a glass of wine and keep reading!

Toronto Restaurants Offer Kawhi Leonard Free Food and Wine For Life for Re-Signing with Raptors

According to VinePair, around 50 Toronto-area restaurants have offered Raptors forward Kawhi Leonard free food and wine for life if he re-ups his contract. Leonard has been the team’s star player during the playoffs but his contract is set to expire July 1. The Los Angeles Clippers are rumored to be revving up to sign him. Devout Raptors fans have taken to social media with a simple slogan: “Wine him, dine him, let’s re-sign him!”

A Toronto real estate agency has offered Leonard multiple multi-million dollar penthouses if he re-signs with the Raptors. And now the restaurants in Canada’s largest city are getting in on the action. More than fifty eateries have joined the campaign to keep Leonard in town, putting stickers on their windows that say “Kawhi Eats Free Here.” The understanding is that Kawhi Leonard will eat (and drink) free of charge at any of these establishments.

kawhi leonard toronto raptors nba finals wine restaurants bars
Photo courtesy of BlogTo

Uber drivers, too, have followed suit. Several Uber drivers sport Kawhi stickers on their cars and have pledged to transport Kawhi Leonard around “the Six” free of charge.

Kawhi Leonard is an intensely private individual, grants few interviews, and tends to avoid questions about his personal life. He has thus far not commented on Drake / OVO or Raptor fans’ attempts to woo him. But with free transportation, accommodation, and board for life on the table, Toronto’s offer would be a hard one to beat, even for this enigmatic superstar.

This is especially true as Toronto boasts some of the most delicious restaurants (and wine selections) in North America.

Toronto Wine Restaurants

aloette toronto wine kawhi leonard
Image courtesy of Tock

Aloette in Queen West is a 38-seat lunch spot whose interior resembles an old-fashioned railway dining car. Chef Patrick Kriss puts a new spin on diner fare with appetizers like crispy squash and scallop tostadas and entrees like burgers and rib-eye steaks. The wine list is extensive and features off-beat inclusions like rare Rioja direct from Spain.

the drake commissary toronto wine bar restaurant kawhi leonard toronto raptors nba finals
Photo courtesy of The Drake

Drake Commissary is a “bakery, bar, larder” that’s basically a restaurant, a store, a coffee shop, and a bar rolled into one. It serves everything from breakfast (black kale and cheese breakfast sandwiches) to lunch (smørrebrøds, an open-faced sandwich from Denmark). Baked goods abound, as well as tea and cold-brew coffee, but the bar is the star of the show. The commissary has both its own craft beer and its own house wine blend (cabernet-merlot). There’s also a well-rounded cocktail and wine list.

patria toronto tapas wine bar restaurant kawhi leonard toronto raptors nba finals
Photo courtesy of Patria Toronto

Spanish restaurant Patria is a stylish hangout with a fine selection of tapas and charcuterie. The extensive wine list includes cava, sherry, Albariño, Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Rioja, sorted by region of origin.

With restaurants like these to choose from, it’d be a wonder if Kawhi Leonard didn’t decide to re-up with the Raptors. We’ll be anxiously awaiting his final decision. In the meantime, the championship is on. Nothing’s better than a bit of wine and basketball, so pour yourself a glass and enjoy the opening day of the NBA Finals!

If you liked this post, stay tuned to our blog for similar wine-related news posts. And don’t forget to check out our website for the latest in wine racking solutions. Happy sipping!


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