mark mcewan restaurants

Toronto restaurants owned by celeb chef Mark McEwan file for creditor protection

Toronto celebrity chef Mark McEwan's eponymous corporation has just filed for creditor protection in the wake of lengthy pandemic shutdowns that the restaurateur was vocally against.

McEwan Enterprises Inc. — which is behind restaurants such as One Restaurant and Fabbrica, as well as a catering business and McEwan Fine Foods supermarkets — claimed more than a whopping $10 million in liabilities when it filed for protection under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) at the end of September.

This included nearly $540,000 in overdue or deferred rent, as well as millions owed to suppliers, banks and shareholders, reports the Globe.

Though the court filing details how the Top Chef Canada star's eateries were forced to shutter for 10 of the last 18 months due to COVID-19, leading to a "liquidity crisis," they also show that some assets have been "underperforming for a number of years," which has impacted the business overall despite the success and prestige of establishments like One.

Even with nearly $4-million of subsidies and loans from the federal government, temporary layoffs and arranged postponements of rent and lease expenditures, the business claims that it will run out of funds to cover itself by the end of this month.

The plan appears to be a transfer of McEwan Enterprises to a new corporation, also to be owned by McEwan and partners, excluding a few outlying leases.

McEwan has been known over the course of the health crisis to air his grievances about Premier Doug Ford's public health restrictions, demanding this time last year that Ford "lead Ontario back to work safely. Shut downs are a mistake. Do the right thing and lead the economy back!"

He called the shutdown of many sectors of the economy (like hospitality) unjustified, mentally and fiscally unhealthy, and said the government was being "unfair to restaurants."

"It astonishes me that the government actually believes that staying closed is even an option any longer. You'd think that there would be a greater sense of urgency... we're the most locked down of anyone in the G7 anywhere," he told blogTO while the province was limited to patio-only dining this summer.

"They have just so mistreated the food service business — try to tell me that my restaurant at 50 per cent capacity with all sorts of protocols in place is not safer than a Costco or a Walmart."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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