Toronto restaurant unable to get customers inside due to street construction
Construction has plagued the area of Roncesvalles and Queen for a number of years, and delayed completion dates continue to affect local businesses in the area that say they barely survived lockdowns.
South Indian Dosa Mahal, located at 9 Roncesvalles Avenue, is just one of the many businesses along the corridor affected by the ongoing construction, which includes TTC track and road reconstruction.
The restaurant's owner, Beulah Logan, told blogTO that the road work has affected her business so much, she can barely manage to get in 10 customers on a daily basis.
"It has affected my business and my neighbour's business as well. It's so hard to have anyone come in," Logan said.
Between the lack of accessibility ramps, planks, limited mobility on the street, and loud drilling noises all day, she is struggling to accommodate her customers.
"People are afraid to come, they can't move, they're getting staff or construction workers to help them in. I'm not getting any deliveries, I'm not getting people in," Logan told blogTO.
The construction has also affected customer reviews, with people attributing the dust in the area to the restaurant's "lack" of sanitation.
"Even for delivery systems, no driver actually wants to come this way or they report us because they can't find parking which has nothing to do with us," she explained.
"I have staff to pay, I have myself to pay, I have bills to pay, I have to take care of my kids, I'm on maternity leave, and I can't do anything because no one is responding to me," Logan told blogTO.
The City's website states that the re-opening of the street is scheduled for mid-March, however, she said she received a newsletter that extends the completion date to the first week of May.
South Indian Dosa Mahal isn't the only business in the King Street West, Queen Street West, The Queensway, and Roncesvalles Avenue (KQQR) area struggling to maintain a steady customer stream amid the road work.
The intersection is home to several other businesses, such as Mama Rosa Restaurant & Bar, AM Bagel, T Dot Jerk, Sake Sushi, Gyro Bar, Easy Restaurant, Burrito Boyz, and McDonald's to name a few.
Kelly Foote is the founder of the community advocacy group, The Queen's End Neighbourhood, and has lived in Parkdale for the last 18 years. For at least a decade, Foote told blogTO the area has been grappling with potholes and is often overlooked by City Council.
"I love my area. I love when people and family come to visit and they're like oh Parkdale is cool, it's funky. That is not what it's like now. Now, it's embarrassing," he said.
"It has become sort of the leftover. Nobody cares. And the problem, the tragedy of the commons, is quick to take root in a place like this."
Foote said that several of the businesses along Roncesvalles Avenue are "boarded up" meaning many customers have to navigate a "maze" to reach their intended destination, while others simply assume the road is closed.
"Construction is bad enough but when you have closures, and economic issues, and housing issues, and you have people coming out of two or three years of lockdown depression, it's just from all angles," he explained.
Foote said that he never pays attention to the completion dates for the construction anymore.
"It's like the rug is pulled. I am not aware of a single time they kept to one of their dates," he told blogTO. "It goes back to the culture and the approach, it doesn't matter for them. They can put whatever [date] because they'll just change it later. They don't care."
While it's been a struggle to access many key businesses along Roncesvalles Avenue, Logan said she appreciates the customers that continue to support her family and staff.
"I'm so grateful that this is getting attention," she said. "It's been so difficult."
Hector Vasquez. Additional photos by Fareen Karim.
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