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The top 20 deadpool in Toronto from 2012

Posted by Robyn Urback / December 22, 2012

toronto deadpoolThe top 20 Toronto deadpool from 2012 just goes to show that this year was not all noodle-bar fun. Just as each year brings new culinary and retail loves, it too marks the loss of venerable (or else, predictably short-lived) institutions. This year was no exception. This is a nod to some of those we'll miss (and probably crave) the most.

South of Temperance
If you noticed hoards of suits wandering wearily around the Financial District, this closure might be the reason. Once among the more popular patios and after-work haunts for the Bay Street crowd, South of Temperance closed its doors at the end of October to make way for a sprawling new office tower. But while it's gone for now, South of Temperance owners insist they are planning on a comeback.

European Quality Meats
After five decades in Kensington Market, European Quality Meats and Sausages finally made the decision to leave Baldwin Street back in April. Citing rising property values and shifting demographics, the family behind the shop sold off their last sausage to concentrate on operations outside of the downtown core. The space left behind didn't go meatless for long, however, as Sanagan's soon opened a shiny new 5000-square-foot in its stead.

Reither's Fine Food International
The Village lost its top spot for quality goulash with the closure of Reither's Fine Food International in March. Owner Paul Reither boarded up the food shop after nearly a quarter century in the neighbourhood and is now enjoying the sweet taste of retirement. Doesn't compare to some of those Reither cheeses, however.

The Real Jerk
The Real Jerk wins for most prolonged closure saga, with news breaking back in January that the Riverside restaurant would be headed for the deadpool. But after a protest and injunction, and several more jerk chicken orders, it wasn't until the end of May that The Real Jerk actually closed up shop. No word yet on where (or if?) we can expect its resurrection.

Captain John's Seafood
It seems Captain John had a little issue with paying his taxes, and thus, his seafood restaurant finally sank over the summer of 2012. A waterfront fixture since 1975, Captain John's was apparently drowning in more than $500,000 of money owed — a debt that couldn't be repaid with the odd king crab platter sale. Farewell, Captain.

Sun Valley Fine Foods
What is Greektown without Sun Valley!? Store and building owner Gerry Aravantinos shuttered his independent shop after 29 years on the Danforth, succumbing to leasing incentives and citing the drought of parking in the area. Greek olive oil connoisseurs must now look elsewhere for their fix.

Marky's Deli & Restaurant
The plotzing began in July when news broke the Marky's up at Bathurst and Wilson would soon be serving its final plate of liver and onions. The restaurant had been serving traditional European kosher fare for 43 years, eventually finding itself in tough economic conditions and exasperated by the changing demographic in the area. The last bowl of borscht was served July 18.

Senior's Steak House and Restaurant
After half a century of great steaks and power breakfasts, residents left behind at Yonge and St. Clair are now forced to ask, "Where's the beef?" Owners Eddie and Cathy Marlett decided to retire in 2012, thus shuttering Senior's Steak House and Restaurant for good. Neighbours are still lamenting the loss of the great mom and pop vibe.

People's Foods
Sigh. One fewer Annex brunch spot. The charm of People's Foods was undeniable (eroded sign, jukebox on every table, stellar onion rings), but alas, the rising rent just proved too much. Owner Kathy Tsatsanis, however, has vowed to come back in a nearby location.

Mitzi's on College
What's up, College? No love for the oatmeal buttermilk pancake? Well, maybe it just wasn't enough love for the oatmeal buttermilk pancake. Owner Lesli Gaynor decided to pack in this Mitzi's at the beginning of 2012, focusing her funds and attention on the other restaurants in the mini Mitzi empire.

Bistro 990
This 23-year-old French country restaurant closed its doors to make way for — can you guess? — a massive new condo. What is this, King Street? In any case, owners Tom and Christine Kristenbrun also cited their age as a reason for closing up shop, leaving their famous roast chicken but a fond memory for loyal patrons.

Zelda's just couldn't come back after an electrical fire left the space gutted. First opening on Church and later moving to Yonge, Zelda's was known for its indulgent comfort foods, great patio, and exhilarating dirty bingo events. I think the whole community raised a boozy pink martini for this place when it finally closed its doors.

Cool Hand Luc
Uncool. With the sale of the King Street building from which Luc doles out his soups and scoops, Cool Hand Luc has been forced to put away the cones. Closing just before the end of the year, owner Luc Essiambreis is now on the hunt for a nearby space.

Stampede Bison Grill
So long, bison burgers. After a few years of pretty delicious bison burger and incredible poutine, Stampede Bison Grill will go out with the end of the year. Hopefully "so long" really means "see you later."

Pinball Cafe
Blame it on a bylaw? Or lack of business license? Or zoning prohibition? Councillor Gord Perks? Whatever the reason, all we really know for certain is that Toronto's first pinball cafe closed its doors after less than one year in operation, forcing pinball-fanatics to again retreat to the sanctity of the dimly lit residential arcade basement. It was nice to know you, natural sunlight.

Hits & Misses
Hits & Misses put up a great fight. The store had served the punk record scene for a total of 20 years, closing fairly abruptly this past fall after falling behind on rent. One more loss for the independent record community, I suppose.

Toronto Women's Bookstore
And speaking of struggling communities, the independent bookstore scene in Toronto suffered a massive loss with the closure of the Toronto Women's Bookstore in November. The store, which also played host to many community workshops and events, had been to the deadpool and back a couple of times throughout its 39-year history, but now it seems it's gone for good.

The Barn
The party, unfortunately, finally did stop at The Barn this summer when it ceased operations due to depleting profits. The Barn wasn't exactly the most popular club in the Village come Friday or Saturday night over the past few years, but the loss of the 20-year business was felt in the community nonetheless.

Agave y Aguacate
It was a brief, albeit, tasty run for owner and chef Francisco Alejandri. Franciso ran Agave y Aguacate for about one year out of the Kensington Market food court at 214 Augusta, eventually leaving due to operating issues regarding cleanliness and organization of the market. Franciso has since offered his cooking at various pop-ups around Toronto.

Reggie's Old Fashioned Sandwiches
Deep fried mac and cheese, Philly cheese steak, chicken club — they're all no more. Known for its super-thick, super-terrible-for-your-diet sandwiches, Reggie's was boarded up in September to make way for neighbour 2Cats Cocktail Lounge 's expansion. Guess you'll have to make that deep fried mac and cheese at home. Keep an extinguisher on hand.

Honourable Mentions:

What did I miss? Add your top deadpool to the comments below.



Moneesha / December 22, 2012 at 08:41 am
Oh, Robyn Urback, you're going to be one hell of a reporter one day--NOT!

According to the Real Jerk's website, they've relocated to 625 Queen E. It took me less than a minute to find this info out. Shame on you for being so lazy!
Relax replying to a comment from Moneesha / December 22, 2012 at 10:45 am
A "google search" is not reliable. You're quoting articles from 6 months ago. No lease signed, nothing confirmed. It is never a good idea to perpetuate old, unconfirmed news, Their own website says "Our new location at 625 Queen Street East is not yet open but we take orders for catering" NOT YET OPEN. Probably never will.
Jesse / December 22, 2012 at 10:58 am
Reggie's was cack, so I don't feel so bad about that one.
Joko replying to a comment from Moneesha / December 22, 2012 at 01:28 pm
You are an idiot.
Benedict Harris replying to a comment from Moneesha / December 22, 2012 at 01:43 pm
tsk tsk
Mar / December 22, 2012 at 01:47 pm
Definitely missing toast the most surprised it isn't on the list
Chester Pape / December 22, 2012 at 01:54 pm
Renovation activity has been observable at 625 Queen E for a while and has recently looked to be nearly finished. According to the construction guys we asked it is the Real Jerk. If I had to put odds on an opening soonish I'd call it 80%
I'm the real jerk / December 22, 2012 at 02:28 pm
The liquor license sign is on the window at 625 QueenEast.
The Real Jerk will be reopening in the sorting there.

End of story
Matt C. / December 22, 2012 at 04:17 pm
I didn't know about Reither's closing. *sigh* Good-bye double-smoked bacon. Good-bye great selection of rye bread. Good-bye German potato salad.
Bobo replying to a comment from Chester Pape / December 22, 2012 at 06:10 pm
Chester Pape; you don't have to lie to feel important about yourself you know. That space has had NO construction done on it in the past few months. It has recently hosted a women's fashion pop-up store for a few days, and that's it. The liquor license application has been in the window since late October.
Look forward to having the Real Jerk back in the neighbourhood sometime in 2013.
janet / December 23, 2012 at 06:57 am
LPK's Culinary Groove is sadly closing on Dec 31. They aren't dead yet but will be shortly. :(
kerry / December 23, 2012 at 11:26 am
Im sorry - did you just describe Reithers having been open for nearly a "quarter decade"? What exactly does that mean? A decade doesnt divide into quarters for one - were you just trying to make it sound like it had been open longer than it had by putting the word decade in there? Quality writing as always!
handfed / December 24, 2012 at 03:49 pm
The Real Jerk: who cares, it's just food..
LaryOly / February 6, 2013 at 10:58 pm
"The restaurant had been serving traditional European kosher fare for 43 years, eventually finding itself in tough economic conditions and exasperated by the changing demographic"

You mean, "EXACERBATED by the changing demographic".

(Don't use big words unless you're sure of what they mean.)
Mike L / February 13, 2013 at 02:32 pm
New Eating Garden on Baldwin closed in late November after a long run
Steve / August 15, 2013 at 09:18 pm
The only phone number I can find for Real Jerk has a recorded message saying they only do catering. One more reason to avoid Queen street.
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