Restaurant closures roundup: now is the summer of our discontent
Steel for some heartbreakers. Since our last roundup of restaurant closures, three of Toronto’s hoariest dining institutions are no more. These and several other fallen eateries, after the jump.
• As the pizzeria and pub lineups get longer, the pain gets sharper for high-end restaurants. One of the latest victims is Gamelle, the cozy but pricey College Street bistro, which shuttered this month. In a message on the Gamelle Web site, chef Jean-Pierre Centeno blames the “parlous state of the economy” and the rising cost of quality ingredients for the closure. As a nod to bummed-out regulars, Centeno has left his instructional videos for such classics as roasted shallot vinaigrette and tomato confit up on the site.
• Like some kind of gastroctopus, when one arm of Marc Thuet’s empire is chopped off, another grows in its place. Earlier this summer, the restaurant half of Atelier Thuet in Liberty Village was closed and the kitchen amalgamated into the company’s catering biz. By August, though, a new Petite Thuet had opened downtown. Never underestimate a big, blond Alsatian.
• In the ’70s, Peter’s Chung King was part of the Szechuan vanguard that helped nudge Torontonian taste buds into more adventurous territory. PCK started to show its age years ago, and Asian-inclined foodies have long been day tripping to Markham, but news of its closing still prompted eulogies in Now and on Chowhound. A Sushi World has already moved into the College Street space—surely no consolation to devotees of Peter’s legendary sweet and sour soup.
• The crop of new curd slingers has spoiled hungry partiers for choice, but back in the day, the only place to get an elephantine platter of poutine after midnight was Mel’s Montreal Delicatessen. The deli’s sandwiches paled in comparison to, well, almost everyone’s, but we have fond memories of a heroic New Year’s Eve reveller passed out face down in his eggs. Good food or not, it seems everyone has a Mel’s memory.
• Though months of post–Restaurant Makeover bungling have dampened the city’s ardour for Massimo’s, it was still sad to see the charred beams and darkened windows that remained after the pizzeria went up in flames. No word yet on whether Massimo’s has departed forever, but given this year’s earlier closure for health infractions, the fire may have been the last straw.
• The Hard Rock Café in the Rogers Centre—which is as old as the Dome itself—is closing at the end of the year, when its lease expires. The view was always better than the food, but it may be worth grabbing a plate of nachos and reflecting on the transience of life: how quickly restaurants come and go, and how unlikely it is that the Jays will ever make the post-season.
10 thoughts on “Restaurant closures roundup: now is the summer of our discontent”
I was wondering if Monsoon is closed for good?
Not sure if this has been mentioned on Toronto Life, but Truffles is closing down after 37 years. Goodbye glorious service.
oh my.. not to lon ago I passed by Massimos.. since the original owner died, it was a slow go for them…. but that is life.
Gamelle closed because chef/owner Jean-Pierre did not know how to treat his staff and they all left. It is a shame because I loved the food, but I often heard him yelling which made the environment completely unprofessional and uncomfortable. It is a shame to see it go, but not surprising.
I *highly* doubt that was the reason he closed.
Nobody closes a restaurant EVER because they can’t find staff unless they live in Nunavut.
There are plenty of Tamil Tigers to fill these spots the second anyone leaves.
Why he probably DID close is because it was a tiny, un-marketed restaurant serving avg French food that just didn’t fit the location/area he was in. TO Life consistently gave him like 1* and others were the same.
I went once when a friend raved about it. It was blah.
If I want real French food I go to Didier. I hope he never closes.
Really? Tamil Tigers? It must be the White Man’s burden to indulge in average French food prepared by immigrants. And Tamils no less? Sheesh.
Maybe it’s racist assholes like you that cause restaurants to close as other patrons can’t stand listening the cacophony of racial slurs emanating from you table? Hmm…
No you dope, I’m not a racist, I am a realist. I guess you’ve never seen who works in every kitchen in the city? And I guess you don’t really know that we have our own Tamil Tigers groups here within the food industry.
Too bad you’re allowed to comment and embarass yourself on a public forum like this when you don’t know the real facts. Oh well. Free country and all.
To the person who said that gamelle closed because owner/chef Jean-Pierre mistreated his staff does not know a thing.. I’ll clear up the discusion… it actually closed do to a nasty divorce and a custody battle over the building…. I loved going to this restaurant because i loved the way i was treated, and most waiters were there for years before moving on….. this beautiful restaurant was open for over 12 years….take your tactless statements elsewhere.
I agree with the person above so much sh*^ talk-what a great restaurant, so sorry to see it go. As a restaurant owner myself it sort of becomes an extention of you and in a time of saddness for a business gone these lovely peeps don’t need people to be cruel!
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