Restaurant closures roundup: now is the summer of our discontent

Restaurant closures roundup: now is the summer of our discontent

Photo by James Cridland

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.