Cluck, Grunt and Low silenced: The carnivore’s paradise closes rather abruptly
The meat lovers among us were surprised and saddened by today’s unexpected news: Cluck, Grunt and Low—the Annex’s go-to ribs palace—will be shuttering for good tonight. Morale at the barbecue pit has been low since Monday, when the staff was notified that the restaurant was closing; but they were not told by either owner Wesley Thuro or the general manager. “I think the owners no longer want to play,” says a frustrated and shocked server who declined to give a name. “Given the way the economy is, April was going quite good. In fact, we were making back the money that we didn’t make during the winter months, when business tends to be slower.”
The server says that Thuro had been hands-off during the ordeal (on Friday afternoon, Thuro was in Parry Sound on another business venture and unreachable) and that the manager had already been “cut loose.” For the past few days, only the staff has been on-site, trying to hold things together until tonight, “when we run out of food.” The restaurant has been for sale for a while, but despite the prime location and sunny patio, few buyers were attracted during the recession. Rumours, however, indicate that the joint may have changed hands recently and may reopen with a new name but similar menu.
The southern barbecue pit opened to much fanfare just two years ago. It received an honourable mention from James Chatto in our guide to the best new restaurants of 2008, was voted the best place for cheap eats by BlogTO readers last year and, at one time, had two of the city’s top chefs—Marc Thuet and Paul Boehmer (Scaramouche, Opus, Atlas)—as menu consultants. Boehmer left in the restaurant’s first year to be the executive chef of the Rosewater Supper Club, and Thuet left last year to open Bite Me.
Boehmer, who is planning to open his own spot on Ossington this summer, seemed as surprised as our unnamed source to hear the news, saying he had a great experience developing the restaurant’s menu and working with Thuro. We feel his pain but are getting over our shock in order to keep an eye on the story as it develops.