We spend so much time focusing on the hottest restaurant openings that we often neglect to reflect on spots that have shut their doors. From chain restaurants failing beside start-ups and high-end dining rooms closing alongside local bars, lets take a few minutes to bid adieu to some of the spots that closed their doors this year.
C5, the trendy flagship restaurant of the Royal Ontario Museum, closed on May 1st. The reason for closure is unclear; all we know is that Compass Group Canada, a food services company, made the decision to end its 10-year contract early with the ROM despite the fact that the billion-dollar company still operates fine-dining restaurants in New York’s Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum and Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. The ROM is currently looking for a new partner to run the restaurant. Ted Corrado, former chef of C5, is now corporate executive chef of The Drake Hotel.
Elle M’a Dit
Husband and wife team Gregory Furstoss and Tory Yang of Elle M’a Dit held their last service on April 27th. For almost two years, the small and cozy bistro on Baldwin Village served modern renditions on Alsatian staples such as baeckeoffe and tarte flambée. Yang explained the decision was because of a family concern and hopes to open a new place in the future
After three years, Hadley’s on College Street closed its doors on June 28th due to lease troubles. This popular BBQ restaurant was featured on season one of the Food Network Canada show You Gotta Eat Here. The show highlighted Hadley’s heavy-duty brunch item, The Remedy, which consisted of two deep-fried, cornmeal crusted poached eggs with potato hash, smoked cheddar, pulled pork, hollandaise, baked beans and coleslaw.
Hoof Raw Bar & Hoof Café
Toronto restaurateur Jenn Agg’s Hoof Raw Bar and Hoof Café closed early last month. Making way into the space in September will be Haitian restaurant Rhum Corner that will serve Haitian comfort food like fish, turkey legs, pork belly and rice and beans, and rum by the quarter, half and full bottle. The new spot was inspired by Agg’s Haitian husband Roland Jean. As Agg tells The Grid: “The Café and the Raw Bar were great, but they didn’t see their potential in the space. Nobody closes a super-successful restaurant, so it’s disappointing that it’s not performing the way you wanted it to. But we got to the point where we realized that we’re happy that we did it anyway, and now we’re excited to focus on this.”
The second French restaurant to bid farewell aside from Elle M’a Dit is Lafayette Bistro, a small restaurant on Queen West between Shaw and Ossington. Chef and co-owner Jean-Pierre Boué featured classic French favourites on the menu: onion soup, boeuf Bourguignon, duck leg confit and escargots provençale. The tiny restaurant also had a back patio. Reason for closure is unknown.
On May 28th, the Montreal-based vegetarian restaurant chain shut down its one and only Toronto outlet after announcing the franchise’s bankruptcy concerns. Earlier in the year, in an attempt to cast a wider net of customers, Le Commensal began offering chicken and seafood on its menu. Often considered to be a restaurant that helped pioneer the vegetarian industry, perhaps going “flexitarian” wasn’t Le Commensal’s best decision after all.
With more than 135 locations south of the border, U.S. fondue chain The Melting Pot opened its first Canadian location in Richmond Hill in April of last year. Even though the future looked promising for the 7,300 sq. ft. restaurant, which featured a four-course fondue menu as well as an a la carte menu offering cheese, seafood, meat and dessert fondues, The Melting Pot of Richmond Hill called it quits less than a year later on March 12th. The chain hopes to either re-open the Richmond Hill location or open another location within the GTA in the future.
Hailing from Japan, Nejibee on Wellesley Street was the Japanese izakaya’s first international outpost in North America. Boasting over 30 locations in Tokyo, Nejibee is best known for its specific brand of Hida-Takayama styled pub food. The restaurant’s signature dish was keichan-yak: chicken and vegetables sautéed in a homemade sauce, served on a hot teppanyaki plate. A notice in the papered windows late July indicated that the business is closed due to “various circumstances.” The izakaya opened only this past March.
Paulette’s Original Donuts and Chicken on Queen East closed as of August 4th to become Delica Kitchen’s second location, set to open during the week of August 19th. Devin Connell, owner of both Delica and Paulette’s, indicated that due to high demand, more effort will be placed on wholesale production of Paulette’s donuts. The donuts will continue to be sold online and at both Leslieville and St. Clair Delica locations, but the fried chicken is sadly gone for good.
Slider Revolution which opened in October of last year, has recently closed its doors. Dishing out 17 original, regular and premium sliders, this Greektown eatery was owned by Rich Lee, who wanted to promote non-traditional sliders to the Danforth-Pape neighbourhood. Customers were offered a wide range of choice including Asian-inspired mu-shu pulled pork with hoisin sauce to spicy-jerk pulled chicken, and a variety of slaws such as honey mustard, kimchee, and cilantro, all served on a bun of your choice.
Sotto in the Village
Catering to the Forest Hill crowd, Sotto in the Village, the 40-seat uptown sibling to Sotto Sotto in Yorkville, closed after a 7-year run when owners couldn’t settle on the lease agreement with the landlord. The owners plan to announce the opening of a new location soon.
Tati Bistro, the third French restaurant in our round-up of closures, bit the dust on May 13th after nearly six years in business on Harbord Street. Co-owners Wayne Parent and Whitney Brown stated that one of the reasons for the closure was the increased competition in Toronto’s dining scene. Tati’s chef, Laurent Brion, continues to run Chabichou cheese shop, Tati’s sister business.
The Avro served its final round of drinks for Riverside locals on April 26th. The casual Queen Street bar’s website explained why the decision had to be made: “We realize that in a dynamic and changing neighbourhood such as Riverside, commercial rent increases are inevitable but the rent hike demanded by our landlord is simply untenable for an establishment of our size.” For those who misses The Avro’s laidback and casual vibe, consider hitting up Avro’s sister bar, Handlebar, in Kensington Market.