Case Studies

TFI Presents: The Perfect Serving with El Catrin

By Jennifer Sgro-Stovall

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Experience > Dinner

Located in Toronto’s historic Distillery District, Studio Munge has transformed the historic space into a homage to Mexican catinas. With a timeline of eight months to complete construction and design, El Catrin opened its doors in June 2013; celebrating its sixth successful year this summer.

El Catrin brings authentic Mexican cuisine and culture to Toronto by bringing on one of Mexico City’s top chef, Olivier Le Calvez, to create and execute an ambitious tapas style menu. As well, taking inspiration from Mexican traditions of La Loteria Mexicana, Papel Picado paper art, and urban street art to curate the space.

From a behind-the-scenes look, you can attribute a major source of its success to its staff; many who have been there from the beginning and the family feel culture El Catrin promotes. From the moment a guest walks through, the dance begins for the staff to create the best possible experience for diners. During summer months, line ups can span up to two hours for a coveted seat on their heated patio and they’ve come up with the perfect solution; utilize the Taqueria patio to alleviate the stress of waiting.

‘Cocktailing’ the line-up provides guests an opportunity to socialize with a margarita in their hand (or another beverage) and snack on delicious tapas. A contributing factor to keep guests happy is the Taylor 390 slush machine which makes their infamous margarita.

Model 390

El Catrin purchased a Taylor Model 390 slush machine in Spring 2017 where it has been placed on the Taqueria patio to assist with the line-ups.

There are usually two people behind bar: a bartender and a cashier; with the Model 390 behind the counter, guests can get drinks quicker and it helps with faster turnover at the bar.

Being the second highest volume restaurant in Canada, the Taylor Model 390 slush machine has kept up with El Catrin’s crowds while providing consistent quality slush for their frozen margaritas.

We recommend trying out their margaritas for yourself and to keep in mind that they’re also available in pitchers.


  • Best Hospitality Design | Canadian Interiors Best-of-Canada Awards

  • Americas, Finalist | Restaurant & Bar Design Awards

  • 36 Hours in Toronto | The New York Times

  • The 10 Most Instagrammable places in Toronto | BlogTO

  • The 5 best patios for tacos | NOW Magazine

  • The Best Mexican Restaurants in Toronto | BlogTO

  • The top 5 tequila bars and restaurants in Toronto | BlogTO

Guacamole En La Mesa – Botanas – Ceviches – Especialidades De La Casa – Tacos

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