then and now toronto

Toronto restaurant that enforced a no-tipping policy is shutting down

A Toronto restaurant that opened only a little over a year ago is closing down permanently, and its owner published a lengthy notice explaining why.

Opening in February of 2023, Parkdale's Then & Now was a unique spot in the neighbourhood, not only for its collection of eclectic Asian fusion dishes, but for owner and founder, Eric Wang's, proudly-held no-tipping policy.

A longtime restaurant worker who began his career as a teenage dishwasher before moving up the ranks to management, Eric's commitment when opening Then & Now was to ensure his employees were paid a living wage from the get-go.

Unfortunately for not only Eric, but his staff and regulars, too, the restaurateur took to Instagram recently to announce that Then & Now will be closing permanently at the end of the month.

"I want every person out there to know that my decision to close has nothing to do with the quality of our food and service, nor does it have anything to do with our non-tipping/living wage policy," Eric writes in the post's lengthy caption.

Instead, Eric says, the decision to close the restaurant was based on the pressures of owning and operating a restaurant entirely on his own; something that, in his words, "no one" can do successfully.

According to Eric, since last summer he had been the sole person in charge of juggling nearly every role at the restaurant from head chef to manager to marketer and everything in between — and, as it likely would for anyone, it simply piled up.

Despite the fact that Then & Now's time is almost up, Eric makes sure to note that this is not the end for him. Not even close.

"I'm still madly in love with hospitality and my love for food and feeding others will never be lost," he writes, "regardless if it's in a professional capacity or not!"

Then & Now is located at 1316 Queen West and closing at the end of May.

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim

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