Popular Toronto barbeque joint closes because of rent hike
Ryerson students now have one less place (out of not that many) for affordable poutine and beer with the closure of Lou Dawg’s at 76 Gerrard Street East on January 18, 2019.
Gentrification, the minimum wage increase, and the Toronto rent and property tax increases from 2012 (when this location opened) are the cause of the closure, according to Lou Dawg’s co-founder Daryl D’Souza.
Rumour has it that the going rate in Toronto is approaching $90 per square foot for commercial space, meaning it could stand to turn into something more like a dentist’s office rather than the restaurant, bar, live music venue and student haven it’s come to be.
While barbecue from Lou Dawg’s will only be available catered in Toronto from now on, franchises still exist in other university towns like Hamilton with more to come in areas like North Bay.
In the meantime, D’Souza still teaches at Ryerson, where he once used Lou Dawg’s as a real life example to teach business and branding.
He recommends nearby Mick E. Fynn’s as pretty much the only other bar for students to hang out in the area, though it’s possible the spot may not last much longer in the quickly changing area either.
Friends of D’Souza’s behind Hideout felt similarly pushed out of their Queen West neighbourhood by gentrification; a Taco Bell now stands where that venue used to be.
D’Souza says the smaller towns outside Toronto are doing more to support live music and communities of musicians anyway, so only time will tell whether or not music venues will be supported by the city’s constant transformation.
The Gerrard location entertained and fed students for seven years and was the only location of the chain in left in Toronto after the original King Street location closed.
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