Toronto BBQ joint shut down after lease terminated by landlord
A BBQ joint in Toronto has shut down after their lease was terminated and they were locked out by their landlord.
According to Glen Tymchuk, one of the partners for the group that oversees Hogtown Smoke, the problem started long before the current pandemic and is far more wide-reaching than the closure of one of his restaurants.
"The restaurant biz as a whole is completely broken," says Tymchuk. "Breaking even is considered a success story."
He says the rent was simply far too high at Colborne's low-traffic side street location, where apparently lengthy construction was also taking place and in Tymchuk's opinion, driving away business. He says many businesses in Toronto are struggling to survive due to high commercial tax rates. Smoke Bar also closed because of high rent.
"It's the TMI that's absolutely crushing everyone," says Tymchuk, referring to common short form for taxes, maintenance, insurance. He says Hogtown Smoke was "falling behind" but there was "no way to get caught up." They even tried takeout, but "COVID just shut us down."
He says a recent amendment that can be spotted on the notice from the landlord from March 12 was an attempt to amend the rent to a lower rate.
According to Michael Emory of Allied, who leases the space Hogtown Smoke was occupying at 45-55 Colborne, it's true that modifications were made to the rent, but they feel the pandemic is not the cause of the closure.
"Hogtown has been in financial difficulty for some time," says Emory. "Allied has supported Hogtown since it fell into arrears in the summer of 2019, but the arrears continued to mount through 2019 and into 2020, and Hogtown was unable to meet even its modified targets and commitments."
Emory continues, "As a result, Allied had no choice but to terminate the lease. Despite the timing, the termination of Hogtown's lease had nothing to do with COVID-19."
Either way, Hogtown Smoke's Beaches location remains open, and you can support them by picking up takeout.
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