Zelda’s decamps for Yonge Street (where it will surely re-camp)
Zelda’s—the Village resto-bar and perennial third-choice patio after Hair of the Dog and O’Grady’s—has moved from its Church Street location. In the middle of the night last Monday, the restaurant’s equipment was packed into moving trucks and carted off, leaving behind a sign saying: “Lease expired, thank you Church Street for 13 fabulous years, new location 692 Yonge Street opening soon.” Zelda Angelfire, the titular proprietress said, “our lease expired and the rental increase was not affordable.”
Co-owner Michael Swann told us that the proposed increase was from $28,000 to about $34,000 per month. “We were unable to renegotiate with the landlords,” said Swann. “We’re independent owners. We don’t have millions of dollars.” Swann and his business partner own the building at 692 Yonge Street, the old Living Well space, so operating costs should drop significantly.
Calls to the landlords, T&Y Property Management, to discuss the rent increase were not returned.
Zelda’s isn’t the only business to have left Church Street; its departure is just the latest example of how the city’s gay centre is shrinking. Crews and Tango boarded its doors last April, leaving a 1,500 strong Facebook group asking puzzled questions about what form the bar will take if and when it re-opens: “What exactly is it we’re waiting for?” asked one group member (we’re wondering that ourselves, so if you have any hints, let us know). Bigliardi’s, a 32-year old steak house, closed on September 26, with a Pizzaiolo rumoured to occupy half of the space. Priape, the gay underwear emporium and luberie, took over 501 Church Street after two bars (first Bar 501, then Vice) went under. Those skittish about losing yet another venerable Village pickup joint can rest easy. Woody’s manager Dean Odorico, assured us that despite the high rent, they still have about 10 years left on their lease.
Swann told us the drag shows that made Zelda’s famous will continue, and the menu will be largely the same. He’s hoping to open the new Zelda’s before Halloween.