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The top 20 deadpool from Toronto in 2013

Posted by Liora Ipsum / December 20, 2013

Deadpool TorontoThe Toronto deadpool grew a whole bunch in 2013, with both old-hat dining establishments and short-lived players in Toronto's ever-evolving culinary and retail landscape shutting their doors, often for good. This year's list sees the loss of a number of well-reputed but perhaps, outmoded eateries as well as some innovative but untenable experiments.

We also learned that the World's Biggest Bookstore is closing, though it will run out the string for the first couple months of the new year. If there's a silver lining to all of these closures, it's that 2013 was also a robust year for new businesses, and at the risk of sounding like Gordon Gecko, the competitive marketplace often forces businesses to up their game.

Here are the top 20 deadpool from 2013.

See Also: The 10 biggest Toronto restaurant flops of 2013

World's Biggest Bookstore
The self-proclaimed biggest bookstore in the world (which it actually isn't) will close its doors in early 2014, after it was announced in November that the iconic store would be sold to a developer. It's not altogether that surprising given the real estate and book markets -- not to mention the location -- but it becomes easier and easier to imagine a time when book shops in Toronto will be extinct.

Indian Rice Factory
Open since 1970 at the corner of Dupont and Howland, this influential Indian restaurant announced its closure this fall. The restaurant was one of Toronto's premiere (and longest standing) destinations for authentic Indian cuisine. Late owner, Amar Patel had been credited with pioneering Toronto's ethnic food scene.

After 25 years, this pricey midtown Italian restaurant reinvented itself as Vita Sociale and switched focus in favour of more mid-range pricing and casual service. Throughout its years, the kitchen spawned an illustrious roster of alumni including Chris McDonald (Cava), Michael Bonacini (O&B), Marc Thuet, David Lee (Nota Bene), Bruce Woods (Woods).

Colborne Lane
Despite critical acclaim, Claudio Aprile shuttered this pinnacle of haute cuisine early this year to focus on the continued expansion of his Origin restaurants. During its 6-year run, the restaurant received high praise for top-tier service and sophisticated approach.

Mark Cuturara's Parkdale restaurant played an influential role in introducing Toronto diners to locavorism and nose-to-tail eating. After six years, the carnivore's paradise cited declining busyness and financial reasons for shutting its doors in early 2013.

The Avro
Rising rent forced this laid back Riverdale bar to shut in April after three years of DJ sets, live bands, letter-writing socials, comedy shows, video game tourneys and indie film shoots.

This contemporary New American restaurant opened to great fanfare in the summer of 2011. The kitchen saw some top-tier talent at its helm; chef Matt Blondin who later went onto open Momofuko Daisho, Patrick Kriss (formerly of Splendido), and then Top Chef Canada alum Dustin Gallagher. In the new year, owners Lindsey and Scott Selland plan revamp the spot as a casual Italian trattoria.

Keriwa Cafe
Parkdale's highly praised Aboriginal Canadian restaurant was truly sui generis serving seasonally fluctuating plates (and a one point tasting menus) that were earthy but elegant, exotic but foraged locally. The restaurant held out hope of reopening 'til October but had been out of commission most of the summer after suffering extensive flood damage.

Bar Salumi
This Parkdale appertivi and piattini bar from the same owners as neighbouring Local Kitchen & Wine Bar, called it quits this fall. The restaurant has been sold to former Bar Salumi chef, Haeyoen An and is expected to become a lunch-time destination sometime in the new year.

Alternative Grounds
A leader in fair-trade, fresh roasted coffees since 1996, this independent retail cafe on Roncesvalles closed in December. The roastery will still deal in beans and supply to local coffee brewers like Sunny Joe's Cafe on Sorauren.

Superior Sausage Co.
Ruthless hounding from city inspectors to update facilities forced this old-school Polish sausage factory to pack it in this September. The shop had been a fixture on Dundas West across from Trinty Bellwoods since for 35+ years and was well loved for its house-made kielbasa, bacon and other meaty delicacies.

This three-storey Corktown establishment opened in 2006 by powerhouse restauranteur Hanif Harji and chef Roger Mooking. The resto-lounge received high praise and a spot on enRoute Magazine's best new restaurant list in 2007, but was later sold to new owners and closed this fall.

After nearly a ten year run, Master Chef Leroy Didier has shuttered his well-established self-titled Parisian bistro on Yonge at St. Clair. Chef cited the changing culinary landscape and an interest in opening a cooking school as reasons for selling the restaurant.

I ate here once when the kitchen was still helmed by Ted Corrado, and can remember two things; my entree, a white chocolate-sauced lobster claw (I still dream of this dish); and the cold uneasiness of the angular room. The restaurant was shuttered this year when operator, The Compass Group reneged on their ten-year commitment to manage the venue. A new tenant for the ROM's flagship restaurant has yet to be announced.

Red Fish
This seafood restaurant from chef David Friedman (ex-Fishbar), couldn't seem to bait a following for its local and sustainably sourced menu. The unassuming restaurant regularly hosted prix-fixe date nights and a weekly fish fry in attempt to attract diners, but went belly up in just over year.

KiWe Kitchen
The Italian trattoria on King West quietly called it quits this fall amidst a flurry of new restaurant openings in the neighbourhood. I guess they just weren't up for the competition.

The casual Queen West wine bar was well loved for its selection of rare, limited-batch bottles sourced from small production wineries. The restaurant announced in the fall that it would soon be replaced by Come And Get It, which is exciting news though bittersweet for Mavrik fans. The website indicates it could yet be reopened at another address.

Earth Bloor West
A victim of retail redevelopment, this 18,000-square-foot Bloor West restaurant (sibling to Earth Rosedale and Globe Bistro) closed at the end of September when the landlord exercised a demolition clause.

Fuel House
Tucked behind Cafe Diplomatico on Clinton just north of College, this converted house was listed for sale earlier this year spelling doom for the cozy bar and back patio.

Poor John's Cafe
Opened in late 2005, this sunny daytime spot on West Queen West was a local favourite for brunch, lunch and take-away sandwiches. The cafe shuttred this spring and was later converted into new bar, Food & Liquor -- thankfully a spot that's retained Poor John's modest pricing.

Honourable mentions

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



Jeff / December 20, 2013 at 12:02 pm
Kind of unfair to feature a lead photo of World's Biggest Bookstore and say "deadpool" for 2013 as it is still open. I saw they had to run newspaper ads making it clear they are still open right now. Might give people the wrong idea if they don't read this post.
jameson / December 20, 2013 at 12:21 pm
Amazing how 3 of these restaurants all closed in Parkdale in literally less than 500m from each other.

Not to mention there was also the pinball cafe and the stampede bison grill

Pretty sure the ICBL is partly to blame for this
Hazel / December 20, 2013 at 12:35 pm
Alternative Grounds.
Alexandra / December 20, 2013 at 12:39 pm
Sausage Partners on Queen East.
whichiwha / December 20, 2013 at 12:42 pm
yeah stop saying deadpool. it's starting to get really annoying.
Patrick / December 20, 2013 at 12:48 pm
scottd replying to a comment from jameson / December 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm
Well then how come there are 35 other places that are doing well?
Weez / December 20, 2013 at 01:10 pm
World's Biggest Bookstore
Noreen Farooqui / December 20, 2013 at 01:10 pm
The World's Biggest Bookstore.
A / December 20, 2013 at 01:12 pm
The vegetarian buffet restaurant Commensal (a block south of the World's Biggest) also closed this year.
James / December 20, 2013 at 01:16 pm
The World's Biggest has been deadpool since Chapters bought the place years ago. So many better options for browsing or buying books. Flip this place back into a bowling alley right fucking now, please.
CaligulaJones replying to a comment from whichiwha / December 20, 2013 at 01:17 pm
Agreed. I know that language is supposed to change, and I'm an old fart pushing 50, but I'm tried of hitting F5 on the Urban Dictionary just to stay hep.

Unless someone can show that any of these establishments were actually on a deadpool (i.e., on a list that was written prior to January 1, 2013 predicting closure), the use of "deadpool" as anything other than a noun is just so gay.

See what I did there?
GD replying to a comment from jameson / December 20, 2013 at 01:17 pm
I always knew the International Campaign to Ban Landmines had a vendetta against entrepreneurs on West Queen West. At least now I know I am not alone. The people must be informed!
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from jameson / December 20, 2013 at 01:29 pm
"Amazing how 3 of these restaurants all closed in Parkdale in literally less than 500m from each other.

Not to mention there was also the pinball cafe and the stampede bison grill

Pretty sure the ICBL is partly to blame for this"

Bison had their liquor license, as did Cowbell. Keriwa was flooded. It's a long stretch to say the Interim Control Bylaw (ICBL for short) had much to do with it in any case except for the Pinball Cafe (who never really found a way to be profitable)
Jeremy / December 20, 2013 at 01:33 pm
Alternative grounds!
Kehlar / December 20, 2013 at 01:34 pm
The World's Biggest Bookstore is the only place to buy French books in town. So it will be missed for sure.

And Poor John's, sigh. I miss them sooo much.
The Bespokeman / December 20, 2013 at 01:40 pm
Sorry to hear about C5. Loved the ambiance and the food. Had some great times there! Hope the ROM replaces it with something great. Love the ROM!
DR / December 20, 2013 at 01:44 pm
Hadley's restaurant is the one that we have been missing the most (since June).
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from James / December 20, 2013 at 03:09 pm
Who pissed in your cereal today, dude? The World's Biggest Bookstore will most certainly be missed by a lot of Torontonians, myself included. And not everybody wants to buy books online, either.

Well, I can see that BMV Books will have to find another supplier..
mar replying to a comment from DR / December 20, 2013 at 03:15 pm
Seriously! how is Hadley's not on this list?
justanasshole / December 20, 2013 at 04:53 pm
Obika Mozzarella Bar was amazing. Expensive as all hell, but the food was insane. Bummer...
mary replying to a comment from Jeff / December 20, 2013 at 04:59 pm
WBB is going to be open until March 2014.
Jen / December 20, 2013 at 05:32 pm
Blue Plate and Lardon on Roncy
aroon / December 20, 2013 at 05:42 pm
Simon / December 20, 2013 at 08:45 pm
Moshe / December 20, 2013 at 08:46 pm
vonfunk replying to a comment from James / December 20, 2013 at 09:00 pm
Chapters didn't purchase the World's Biggest Bookstore. It was owned by Coles, Coles bought/merged with Smithbooks in the mid 90's and changed the company name to Chapters. A few years went by, Chapters was in the red, and was purchased by Indigo in 2001.
WN replying to a comment from Moshe / December 20, 2013 at 09:37 pm
Re: Captain John's, it's been closed since 2012, so it doesn't qualify, but then again neither does World's Biggest.
Cass / December 20, 2013 at 10:29 pm
Tati Bistro :( I was immensely disheartened by this.
Bobo / December 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm
I was very surprised to see Kim Moon Bakery close so suddenly. I remember going there in the 70s.
tammy / December 21, 2013 at 02:25 am
Where's TATI on Harbord on your list???
It was the very best french bistro for amazing food and great, warm atmosphere.
I miss that place terribly.

Kim Moon Bakery too.
What about Yet Sing on Baldwin?
Dan / December 21, 2013 at 09:02 am
Fuel house =(
Hadley's / December 21, 2013 at 11:17 am
Thank you guys so much!! We miss all y'all as well. Here's the best to you guys in 2014!!
Oscar ina / December 21, 2013 at 07:11 pm
Robfatfuckford's crackhouse
sw / December 21, 2013 at 11:21 pm
For a supposed "deadpool" establishment, how come Riverside Public House has plans for Superbowl Sunday on their website? Cool story bro.
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