Fran's closing restaurant in Toronto after getting evicted by landlord
Fran's Restaurant has become an institution in Toronto since the very first location opened at Yonge and St. Clair roughly 80 years ago, but it seems even this beloved business isn't immune to the brutal impacts of the pandemic.
To the dismay of all those that a appreciate a classic, old-school, 24-hour diner, Fran's annunced Wednesday that the location at Front and Yonge Streets, which opened in 2010, will be permanently closing its doors before the start of the new year.
In an interview with blogTO, co-owner of Fran's Roger Kim said they're being forced to close the location after receiving an eviction notice from their landlord.
"This was not inevitable. We paid our rent and never missed a payment over the last 10 years. When CERS was announced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we were waiting on the relief to come into play," he said.
"We asked our landlords for a bit more time in October. Their response was not as accommodating as it was during the first lockdown. Instead of working with us, they issued us a formal notice on November 5th to vacate the premises by December 31, 2020. As a family we were going to fight this eviction notice, but ultimately decided that this continued lockdown would make continuing business at this location untenable."
Kim said the Front Street location stopped service on Wednesday, and it will be officially closed as of Dec. 31.
Sadly, Kim told blogTO the closure would not be happening if it weren't for COVID-19, as he said they had just concluded a 10-year lease and were ready to exercise the five-year option to renew when the pandemic hit.
"We paused negotiations at the request of the property management," he said. "We had every intention of staying."
Fran's made the official closure announcement in a lengthy Instagram post on Wednesday in which they acknowledged how difficult things are for all small businesses right now and encouraged everyone to shop local as much as possible.
"Fran's has been family-owned from the beginning. It has a rich history in this city and we are proud to say the phrase, 'A Toronto Tradition Since 1940,'" reads the post.
"Our Front Street location is our youngest. We opened our doors in August 2010 and since then we are proud of the community we have built. We want to thank our staff for always doing their best and being part of this amazing family. We also want to thank our customers for supporting our business over the last 10 years."
Since making the announcement, Kim said they've received more support than they could have imagined.
"The outpouring of thanks and regret is overwhelming. A lot of people are sad. Some are angry about the lockdown. It's a challenging time for everyone," he said.
"It's sad to close this location which has been part of so many people's lives in this city. When people find out we own Fran's, it is followed with a story or a memory of when they ate at Fran's as kids. We are truly grateful for the years of continued support."
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