The Steak Pit

Toronto institution the Steak Pit is closing after 70 years

One of Toronto's oldest restaurants and best steakhouses is closing its doors after nearly 70 years in business near Avenue Road and Lawrence. The Steak Pit had long fallen into the retro category of eateries, but the quality of the steak and ribs remained of the highest order even as the decor became more kitsch than elegant over the years.

While there's a new condo going up immediately to the north that claimed the original Bistro on Avenue, it's not development that's pushing the Steak Pit out. Post City reports that owner Tom Vigneux has decided to retire to spend more time with is family, which is as noble a reason as any to draw the curtains on a longstanding business.

The last day at the Steak Pit is Sunday, November 27.

There's still a slim chance that the restaurant will live on in some capacity, as the new owner of the property also owns the business and its name. A search is on for someone who might want to run an eatery in the space. Could we be so lucky as to see a rebirth like the one that turned the neon back on at the Skyline diner?

Avenue Rd. lacks the trend-appeal of Parkdale for a vintage business, but it's worth noting that the Steak Pit still draws a steady crowd to this day, even if it's rarely full. It's a place where you can go for a superb steak and some retro charm without emptying your bank account as you would at Barberian's.

The thing that's so great about the place, and what will be missed most when Vigneux makes his departure, is that for all the kitschiness of the old cigarette machine, patterned carpeting, and the blazing neon sign, none of it ever felt put on. It was an honest place to grab a steak that embodied the adage "if it ain't broke; don't fix it."

That was a refreshing sentiment in a Toronto restaurant scene constantly falling over itself to try out the latest thing.


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