paintbox toronto

Toronto restaurant known for its social impact permanently closes due to lockdowns

A Toronto restaurant that's now permanently closed says they couldn't stay open in the face of being battered by further lockdowns and catering cancellations.

Paintbox Bistro put out an official announcement stating they're closing effective immediately.

"With a new surge and other variants on the horizon, with a renewed government lockdown and cancelled catering, Paintbox is out of financial resources and no longer tenable," reads the announcement.

The bistro-style restaurant known for its social and environmental impact was run by chef and George Brown instructor Chris Klugman, who signed the announcement.

Paintbox closed for the holidays on Dec. 17, and though they anticipated reopening on Jan. 5, like many they didn't expect the end of that break to coincide with an indoor dining lockdown. At the same time, all their offsite catering bookings also cancelled.

"It felt like March 2020 all over again," Klugman tells blogTO.

During lockdowns, Paintbox became an online grocery store called Nibbly in April 2020 until larger competitors started offering same-day delivery and they lost their advantage.

They then partnered with charities to produce 2,500 meals per week for people experiencing food insecurity, preparing over 35,000 meals total during lockdowns.

Paintbox also became an incubator for food startups including Batch Cookies, Spike Your Food and Do Good Donuts.

"Catering, which has been our bread and butter, started to return in the fall of 2021. Omicron changed that," says Klugman.

"I haven't heard back from the landlord regarding the future of the space. As far as myself, I intend to do something fulfilling and impactful in the new year, don't know what."

Lead photo by

Paintbox Bistro

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