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The Real Jerk heads for the deadpool

Posted by Derek Flack / January 9, 2012

Real Jerk Closing TorontoBad news broke earlier today for jerk chicken and roti fans across Toronto. Riverside's The Real Jerk Restaurant, which has been around for more than 25 years (at its current location for 22 of them), announced that it's closing its doors at the end of the month. In a note on the establishment's Facebook page, owner Edward Pottinger explains the situation:

It is with heavy hearts that we send this message to all of you. Our building has unexpectedly been sold on Dec 30, 2011 and the new owner has issued an order to move as of Jan 31, 2012. We would have hoped to stay longer, long enough for us to secure a new location but this will not be feasible. While we fight the unfair order we sadly must prepare for the real possibility that our days are numbered at the corner of Queen & Broadview, a location we have very much loved for 22 years.

That sure as hell doesn't sound like adequate notice, but it's probably not a good idea to hold one's breath hoping that the restaurant will manage to foster a change of heart on the part of the landlord. Pottinger is, however, resolute about his desire to relocate his business. "We are committed to building our restaurant again and hope you will visit us as soon as we open our new doors," he writes in the same note. "Our catering business will continue in the meantime with our regular phone number, please don't hesitate to call or email if we can be of service or with any information pertaining to prospective property."

Thanks to @vveerrgg for the tip



Gaston Garamond / January 9, 2012 at 06:15 pm
BLOODCLAWT. What kind of nonsense is that? under 30 days to move a resto that's been there almost 30 yrs?? Sad. Someone should call the heritage preservation services. If I see another condo go up... ARGH!
Kagan Mcleod / January 9, 2012 at 06:39 pm
Lemme guess... Condos?
Cautionary Tales / January 9, 2012 at 06:48 pm
People understandably want to move into emerging and trendy neighbourhoods, but there's not enough building stock to house them.

So they build condos, prices go up, the cool people move away, and the neighbourhood loses much of what people wanted to live there for in the first place. Except it's their neighbourhood now.
Sean / January 9, 2012 at 06:59 pm
Not my kind of food but it sure as heck quite a great paint job on that corner and for the entire neighbourhood.
jay / January 9, 2012 at 07:03 pm
Oh oh--goodbye Jilly's.
tnt / January 9, 2012 at 07:28 pm
Jillys has to go !!
Fast eddie / January 9, 2012 at 07:46 pm
Horseshit. This building is owned by Pottinger and he has had it conditionnally sold 4 times in as many years. He finally got a ridiculous amount of money (rightfully so amd good for him) from Greenpark. Save us the sob story and go enjoy your millions. Woolfit on Queen is next to go - $160,000 Porsche is the kiss of wealth
Asianz / January 9, 2012 at 08:52 pm
I was glad Ackee Tree went under, it was the worst Jamaican food I have ever tasted. The Real Jerk wasn't bad in comparison. It's sad to see another Caribbean eatery to go in this town.
Michelle / January 9, 2012 at 09:07 pm
Move to Etobicoke Lakeshore!, we'd LOVE to have you!
balls replying to a comment from Fast eddie / January 9, 2012 at 09:32 pm
I hope you're joking about Woolfit??
Garfield Eubanks. / January 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm
Prediction: real jerk will show up were playpen is. Unless by some miracle playpen lasts until the spring in which case real jerk downsizes into the rose donuts. I guess what I am saying is that real roaches I mean real jerk will resurface at carlaw and Gerrard. Maybe a loss for riverside, but river sale has much much better Jamaican in the dutchpot.
Garfield Eubanks. / January 9, 2012 at 10:35 pm
Riverdale. Damn autocorrect
cosmosuave / January 10, 2012 at 09:00 am
Any bet that a Starbucks takes it's place...
J I L L Y replying to a comment from tnt / January 10, 2012 at 10:07 am
Jillys has been around longer than you and your entitled, gentrified self. Just because you can't bring your SUV Stroller and baby in there and camp out all day having brunch doesdn't mean that it should be out of the neighbourhood.

Gtafemale / January 10, 2012 at 10:09 am
If it is indeed a condo and they closed the end of last year, they wouldn't require the space that quickly. Condo builders generally need time to apply for rezoning and to design and develop the project prior to launching a sales centre. Most likely the space was bought by another retailer who needs the building for themselves. For condo haters out there you obviously don't get small businesses actually benefits from increased foot traffic verses being hurt by it. Also increasing the desirability of a neighnourhood with well designed higher density residential projects improves the value of both private homes and retail/office spaces. Condos, if designed well can be a win:win situation for a diverse group of people.
lyle replying to a comment from cosmosuave / January 10, 2012 at 10:21 am
modern furniture shop...
Bugs replying to a comment from Fast eddie / January 10, 2012 at 10:26 am
No it's not owned by the Jerk, its owned by some rich Jewish guy... they lost it years back due to some unfortunate events.
Fast Eddie replying to a comment from Bugs / January 10, 2012 at 10:37 am
Ah no, still on municipal records. In fact, there are three parcels of land that are all owned by the same group controlled by GreenPark - it will be another low rise condo
MrPotato / January 10, 2012 at 10:39 am
tommy replying to a comment from Gtafemale / January 10, 2012 at 10:43 am
Then why do condo commercial spaces struggle to keep tenants, and the tenants they do keep are either boring old chain stores, or even more boring office spaces. I don't think I've seen too many 'small' businesses on the first floor of condo buildings. Condo storefronts are bland and intimidating, and kill the flow of the street-scape. I'm certainly not anti-condo for residential space, but they are storefront poison and should be relegated to side streets.
alan / January 10, 2012 at 10:56 am
there are a number of houses south of the jerk that have been boarded up for months, looks like they'll get demolished at some point...for a condo...
aris / January 10, 2012 at 12:13 pm
mediocre food...horrible building...
did you know it was originally the site of the beautiful Dominion Bank Building before it was torn down in the early 1900's?
What's wrong with gentrifiation? old buildings get restored,Houses get beautified, increase in density for the city, business become more viable... and you don't have to worry (as much) about your kids getting accosted by drug addicts on the way to junior school.
Pmilly / January 10, 2012 at 12:35 pm
I live right in the area and that building is an eyesore. Had they maintained it, perhaps it would add some character but as you can see in the Star pic, the sun is broken and there is pigeon crap all over the "The Real Jerk" logo. The food is mediocre at best and overpriced. Tropical Joe's at Gerrard Square has better roti and jerk chicken. Both places, though, taste like the food's been under a heat lamp for 36 hours. It'd be nice to get some FRESH Jamaican food in this city (enlighten me, please).

If you own a restaurant, do your best to own the building. If not, you're SOL if the building owner wants you out.
np / January 10, 2012 at 02:35 pm
I live in the Broadview Lofts, and eat at the RJ on occasion.
I'll be sad to see it go, as it does add character to the area.
As long as its not some god awful 30 floor high rise, then i think it will be a good thing for the area.

Keep the new building to about 10 floors, like the Broadview Lofts are and then it may not be so bad.
laoise / January 10, 2012 at 06:13 pm
I hear from trusted informants that it is going to become a traditional Irish Pub not your usual finn mccools but a true irish pub and will be expected to have music all week. I think it's a welcome change, I love the Real Jerk but that building looks run down and dirty its about time it got a make over!
tommy replying to a comment from Pmilly / January 10, 2012 at 06:16 pm
Good west indies food can be found along Weston road/Lawrence in the summer.
np replying to a comment from laoise / January 11, 2012 at 09:22 am
How trusted are your informants?
laoise replying to a comment from np / January 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm
i trust them
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from aris / January 14, 2012 at 12:11 am
and you don't have to worry (as much) about your kids getting accosted by drug addicts on the way to junior school.

If you love that aspect of city life so much, why not live in the 'burbs then? Or live out of town?
Gline replying to a comment from tommy / January 14, 2012 at 12:30 am
They should be regulated to the 'burbs where they belong...only problem is, the (mostly) white people who inhibit these buildings are moving into the city to escape the 'burbs because of all the people of color there now (partly).

I shudder to think of what will replace the Real Jerk now...the feeling in my gut tells me it'll probably be another crappy chain resto or upmarket chain chi-chi furniture store selling expensive crap furniture that barely lasts a long time.
Tanya / January 19, 2012 at 10:49 pm
Yikes. Went to real jerk, 5% to eat 95% to pay my respects. The place is usually empty but all the media attention has everyone coming to pay their last respects. They are not prepared to handle their new found popularity and don't seem to be trying. My group waited an hour for our drinks because they didn't 'have enough glasses' they had enough tables and chairs but apparently not enough basic math skills. Went to the bar myself to get drinks told someone would be with us. Trying to help and save our server the headache was apparently insulting to them. They didn't have fucking hot sauce. 2 hours and a bit of polite harassment later we got our mediocre food that reminded us of why we hadn't been there in years. I was only polite. Tried to be helpful and understanding. Got home thought about it and I gotta say the place is a nightmare. They are making zero effort to capitalize on their new popularity. Which I could respect if the food was good and they were of a 'work at our own pace mentality. The food is simply garbage and it's definitely less 'our own pace' and more 'we have no fucking clue how to run a business.' the good news is that great Jamaican food is close by at the dutchpot.
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