mystic muffin toronto

Community trying to help owner of beloved Toronto diner get through hard times

The Toronto community is banding together to help a local old school diner and cafe - along with its beloved owner Elis Makhoul - through tough times.

Mystic Muffin on Jarvis is known for its quirky exterior signage and the genuinely good food served inside, like soup, sandwiches, and their famous signature apple cake.

The place was just broken into, and the window and cash register were damaged resulting in over $3,000 in repair costs. This could be a fatal blow to the business that's been quietly suffering through the lockdowns that have razed small businesses in Toronto.

Now, one faithful regular has started up a GoFundMe to help out Mystic Muffin, and it's already exceeded $3,000, well on its way to a $5,000 goal.

"Mystic Muffin is a staple in the community and the owner Elias Makhoul is the most generous and outgoing person I have ever met in my life. His apple cake is to die for and it's hard to leave without buying a fresh loaf of his homemade chocolate banana bread or blueberry loaf," reads a note on the GoFundMe written by organizer Michael Grimsby.

"Elias is one of the most hard working and proud people I have ever met and doesn’t ever want a handout but I think it would be amazing if we could show how much we appreciate him! If you cannot donate, just sharing this post would be awesome and appreciated!"

Grimbsy lives in the Vu Condos next to Mystic Muffin, and since creating the GoFundMe has been diligently posting about it in local neighbourhood groups on Facebook to a great response.

"A lot of people were and still are working from home, so it gets much less foot traffic. The icing on the cake was when he took his family back to Lebanon (which is where he is from) for a family vacation and came back to his front window and cash register broken," Grimsby tells blogTO.

"This gem works 16 hours a day, six days a week, and then on Sundays, his one day off, he goes to Costco and gets everything for the next week."

Makhoul and his wife are the only two employees at Mystic Muffin.

"Everything is made fresh in house and it really upsets me to see someone put so much time, effort, and love into this place and to see him struggle," says Grimbsy.

"I hope he can use this money to make any repairs he needs. Hopefully it takes some stress off his shoulders."

Aside from working so hard, Grimsby feels like Makhoul is deserving of support because of his giving spirit within the community. The store owner is often giving people in need coffee or muffins for free, or letting them pay later.

"He is super friendly, funny, and generous," says Grimsby. "He is always in such a positive mood and makes anyone and everyone who comes into his restaurant smile and feel welcomed."

The GoFundMe has now been shared widely by many people other than just Grimsby, making the rounds on Twitter with people calling it a "treasure" and "essential source of apple cake."

Lead photo by

Mystic Muffin

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