Lost Symbol toronto

Movie shoot takes over Toronto restaurant that's spent 30 years doubling as a film set

Plenty of film and television studios love to use Toronto to shoot projects due to how much it looks like New York City, Chicago, or whatever other large metropolitan city the team is trying to recreate.

Watch enough television and film and you'll be able to recognize some local hot spots, especially King Street East's Patrician Grill which has been a favourite spot for studios for over 30 years now.

Opened in 1953, and purchased by the Papas family in 1967, Patrician Grill is one of the city's oldest diners. The family run establishment is well known for its greasy spoon offerings and affordable menu.

Beyond just leaving its mark on the city, it's left its mark on countless television and film projects, being used as a location for countless projects dating back to the late 1980's. 

Brothers and former movie stars such as Emelio Estevez and Charlie Sheen have been filmed inside the restaurant, as has the hit program Due South and most recently, Dan Brown's The Lost Symbol was filming there earlier this week.

While many film crews will change the look of a venue they're shooting in to suit their needs, that's rarely the case for Patrician Grill which has the kind of diner vibe that studios adore.

"They like the look, they like the diner style, the long counter and that's basically what they're looking for," Manager Terry Papas told blogTO.

"The people that know our place recognize it right away. The number one giveaway is usually the table and the coat racks that we have."

With film projects once again shooting across the city, it could be a busy year for Patrician Grill and other beloved film spots in Toronto. 

Lead photo by

Patrician Grill


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