Local media go a little crazy over the return of the Green Room, for some reason
When the Green Room closed down last year after a series of health violations, it was an open question as to when, or even whether, the Annex dive-slash-legend would open again. Well, brace yourselves, Toronto: the old student hangout has reopened, and the city’s new media crowd is all over it. Apparently, the story was broken by a drunken post on Reddit, but OpenFile, BlogTO and Torontoist were on the story by Sunday afternoon. The news exploded on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, because, well, nobody seemed to know what was going on, and excited speculation is pretty much what Twitter is made for. Eventually, BlogTO spoke with the new management:
As Jessie Tong and I continued to chat, her responses became decidedly less specific. When asked when she acquired the business, she responded “a couple of months ago.” After further prodding, she noted that it was “all this year,” which I took to mean both her putative acquisition of the business and its renovation. But given that the centrepiece of these renovations appears to be a new floor—which was reportedly already installed when last autumn’s [Toronto Licensing] tribunal took place (see last link)—it’s again impossible not to doubt Tong’s responses.
…what she’s most interested in establishing is that Green Room hasn’t changed. At first this confuses me. Why in the world would anyone working at this restaurant not want to distance it from its checkered past, I wonder? But Tong offers the most convincing response of our chat when she says that she’d like people to “feel that they can come home” to the Green Room. There’s new ownership, she repeats, but she doesn’t want to change the place too much.
We couldn’t resist all the excitement, so we actually checked out the Green Room on Sunday. We were, it turned out, the first people there that day. We can report that the sort-of-new-and-improved Green Room now features:
- working plumbing in both men’s and women’s bathrooms (we had some help in checking the latter)
- a new floor, without any obvious animal droppings visible in the improved lighting
- and, based on eating the chicken pad thai, an intestinal distress–free eating experience.
So welcome back, Green Room. As of Sunday, the menu was still limited as the kitchen gets restocked, but anyone who ate there before its closing shouldn’t expect any big changes. Here’s hoping the health violations are kept to a minimum going forward.