Toronto Pride

Zytoon Boots Gay Patrons & Promptly Pays the Price

And just in time for Pride week, an unfortunate reminder of why it's so important for the LGBT community to come together to celebrate their pride...

Carolina Avila recently got in touch with blogTO about a protest she hoped to hold... a kissing protest inviting all gay, lesbian, and straight lovers to gather in front of Zytoon Restaurant on Roncesvalles to show Aziz, the owner, what freedom and love is all about.

All that love, in a response to Carolina and her wife being near-violently kicked out of the restaurant a couple months ago for being a queer couple.

The classiest part about this deplorable owner's behaviour? He served them, billed them, and after he'd taken their money, proceeded to thank them by telling them to get the hell out and never come back again.

In Carolina's words,

"He probably knew we were a same sex couple right when we walked in - we are affectionate with each other - but he decided to serve us, take our money and then express his homophobic reaction against us. When we asked him, very kindly about his performance he almost jumped from behind the counter with a knife on hand to force us to leave."

But, of course, I'm speaking in past tense, because in this case, the Roncesvalles community spoke from the comfort of another restaurant, leaving Zytoon to face its fate and shut down.

When Carolina inquired with the Roncesvalles BIA, she was told the restaurant was closing and the owner moving away.

The whole situation brings back memories of the El Rancho debacle where two gay men were harshly booted from that College Street resto (for the crime of wanting to dance), but when the story made it into the papers, gay-positive Rancho Relaxo (down the street) was mistaken for the culprit and suffered undeserved backlash from Torontonians.

Perhaps tonight, Carolina and everyone looking to support a queer-friendly restaurant should head on over to Rancho Relaxo for some home-made guacamole. They'd be happy to have you.

For the record, the new owners on Zytoon's former space are Aida & Hayet, 2 Tunisian women, who are opening a resto called, "Malek" with a Tunisian inspired menu. We wish them the best of luck and hope they can create a warm new resto everyone can enjoy.

Update: Yes, to clarify, this Zytoon incident qualifies as alleged, as the case is not closed yet. At the same time, we stand by Carolina's bravery and choose to post her story as well as leave the forum open for public dialogue from all sides. Victims should not harrassed into silence.

Toronto City Hall pride flag photo courtesy of Gabe Toth (flickr).

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