In September it appeared that Drake had entered the restaurant business when rumors emerged that he opened a spot called Fring’s on Toronto’s King Street West. The establishment’s credentials (besides the Drake endorsement) included the fact that it was the co-opened by celebrity chef Susur Lee (a known favorite of Drizzy’s), and its menu and atmosphere catered to the city’s seen-and-be-seen crowd (Drake’s people).
But according to a recent T Magazine feature on the restaurant, Drake had almost nothing to do with Fring’s. The only thing he actually contributed to getting it off the ground was its name.
[pullquote][W]hen asked what the word means, Drake said last week over the phone, “It’s just something you pull from your own emotions, from a happy time.” He explained that the term is derived from the city’s unique Jamaican patois, which the artist has embraced in recent years — most notably on the track “Days in the East End.” “We’d say, ‘Last night you were so fringed,’” he added.[/pullquote]
Drizzy’s admission also puts to rest the initial speculation that the restaurant was named after a nickname the rapper had given to ex-girlfriend Rihanna.
Two of the restaurant’s co-owners, Kai and Levi Bent-Lee, who are also Susur’s sons and Drake’s friends, admitted to the publication that they modeled Fring’s after the nighttime spots where they like to hang out with Drake. According to Kai, Fring’s is “a white tablecloth place without the tablecloths….Somewhere we can just go and eat without getting dressed.”
While the Toronto rapper might not have been directly involved, his vague association with Fring’s fits into the blueprint of how he’s built his cross-cultural brand. From sports to fashion, Drake doesn’t make so much as he endorses. The NBA’s Toronto Raptors currently employ him as their nebulously titled “global brand ambassador,” and Jordan Brand releases special-edition shoes with his OVO crew’s imprint. Even when it comes to musical collaborations, Drake takes rising artists and tacks on a verse to their hottest singles, or flat-out remixes them all together (see: ILOVEMAKONNEN’s “Tuesday,” or Drizzy’s flip of D.R.A.M’s “Cha Cha” into “Hotline Bling”).
There are obvious positive and negative consequences to this peripheral touch. For Fring’s, however, it appears that the rumors of Drake’s association have only benefitted the establishment—they did just get a entire magazine feature from the NYT, after all.
[via T Magazine]