The Real Jerk fights closure with protest and online petition
After Riverside landmark The Real Jerk announced it was being forced to close its doors (as a result of its building being sold), it didn’t take long for the restaurant’s many fans to speak out, hoping against hope that their beloved oxtail might be saved. This weekend, owners Ed and Lily Pottinger launched a campaign to protest the closure, urging diners to share their experiences at the Caribbean eatery and to sign the following petition (h/t The Grid):
“We the udersigned encourage the Mayor & City Council to help protect family run businesses like The Real Jerk. This landmark business was a pioneer in the Queen an Broadview neighbourhood. The Real Jerk helped to revitalize this neighbourhood. Now the Real Jerk needs our help. Any future development in this neighbourhod needs to consider the vital role that small family-run business play in building and maintainig the quality of life for all residents.”
We give the campaign kudos for passion and determination (if not for spelling), but we’re wondering what can actually be done, since Bill Mandelbaum of Buckingham Properties, which has bought the building, has no obligation to renew The Real Jerk’s lease. Still, the protest rages on: staff and owners gathered today at 11:30 a.m., placards in tow, in front of that iconic smiling sun.
15 thoughts on “The Real Jerk fights closure with protest and online petition”
What will be accomplished by neighbourhood interest in the plight of a business. I am sure that if the business is willing to pay market value rent that the landlord can be convinced that they should remain.
How many a plaza has shifted (evicted) an independent business operator in favour of a Royal Bank or Shoppers Drug Mart Expansion. Their heart is in the right place and I wish I had such a dedicated following.
Living in Toronto
Oh come on!! This is business – did The Real Jerk go to the landlord and say, if you are building condos, we would like to anchor the building once completed ? or are they looking for sympathy because of some longstanding multicoloured buikding on queen ? times have changed and sorry to say, Real Jerk has not. Food is OK at best, not great and warrants no intervention by mayor or city. Get with the times and realize, its YOUR business model that needs to change.
The Pottingers should focus their efforts on finding a new location and opening up a new restaurant in time for spring/summer 2012.
They have a faithful following that will follow them wherever they set up shop.
SO they should quit wasting time and energy on this silly petition.
Agree with both these comments. I’d imagine that space would cost 8000 a month to rent. Doubt their paying half of that. Find a new location closeby. I’m sure all customers would still go, why would an extra block change anything?
Any also, they help revitalize that area? Maybe sortof. I’m sure a brand new condo/offic building will help gentrify that neighborhod ten fold. Let’s get serious here TL. You gotta come up with more interesting issues to discuss and publish
Without prejudice to those who have commented, I disagree with your opinion, but respect your views. I can only suppose you have never run a family business that implements commitment, due not believe that for one minute that the food served is less than stellar.
It is not a multicultural restaurant, it a Caribbean place of restaurant, and I am positive that if this was one of the posh Bistro downtown, your tone would have taken a different demeanor.
Here’s what bugs me: Developers force the termination of leases and then let the location sit idle for years. We had a fantastic LCBO at Davisville and Yonge for almost ten years and then the lease was not allowed to come up for renewal because a developer had purchased the property. Almost 2 years later this location still sits vacant while we must make do with an LCBO that is 1/10th the size of the original and is poorly situated between 2 subway stops. Developers take forever to get their shit together and should not be allowed to terminate good businesses until they are 3 months away from breaking ground.
Come on BRITISH, dont try to play this race card. Let’s have a little common sense here, everyone’s comment here combined together in a pot, should give you the right feelings: Channel your energy elsewhere to get a summer opening elsewhere as nothing will change and your loyal customers will follow. Nothing can or will change, so why this petition ? for lower rent ? to stay ? or to get the ground floor and pay market rent like everyone else? Next place to go —> the strip club next door and we will all say, ABOUT TIME! Cheers!
Dont forget they had tried to open another Real Jerk on richmond street and it never work if I recall. Time to visit their business model and see what real rent feels like as I am certain they are paying dirt cheap rent in prime market area.
Its far from a stellar carribean place actually. And if it was a “posh place DT” they would move their ass out and find another place. It never ceases to amaze me how many people want things to remain the same but so hypocritically embrace change that suits them. As you type this comment from your mobile or pc device which was not made here so we could afford it. Its Progress. Like the develoment of that land. Let them move to another shitty neighborhood with cheap rent and start the cycle over.
The food is average at best and the restaurant itself is dirty in way that makes me never want to go back – so no loss there.
Development happens – if the owners of the Jerk were really THAT interested in staying put, why didn’t they buy the building? Easier to scream and yell than pony up the cash I guess. Tough noogies!
I come from a family that has always run small businesses (one of which is right in the area of the Real Jerk) and while I have never had The Real Jerk as I never heard any rave reviews about it, the fact is, they can’t expect to halt the building of a condo because they want to stay on the basis that they have contributed to the “spirit” of the neighbourhood (and then some, I get it). I’m sure if they owned the building and were offered a sweet deal to sell (and not for the sake of development of yet another condo), they’d do just that and move on out to some other area.
Sadly, this is a sign of the times and in case they haven’t heard, that neighbourhood has been undergoing some changes over the years and gentrification is moving in and I guess their fare does not necessarily reflect what’s in store for the neighbourhood.
It’s really a shame, as I hate to see the demise of these types of establishments. I realize RJ is loved by many (just not anyone I know–we go elsewhere for our jerk & oxtail) and finding a decent place to reopen for a reasonable amount of rent may prove impossible but perhaps if they move, ppl will still make the trip to eat there. Good luck Real Jerk.
if the RJ had committed to a lease, then maybe they wouldn’t be in this situation. if you’re on a month-to-month tenancy, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.
additionally, rents around that area have gone up tremendously in the past few years. i don’t know the size of their space (probably at least 2,000 sf) but the commenter who quoted $8,000/m for market rent is probably close, and that is NET. odds are the RJ isn’t paying that.
if the Pottingers are willing to pay market rates, chances are the developer owner would let them stay, as any development is at least 3-5 years away.
otherwise, move a few blocks north to east Chinatown where rents are half of Riverside.
I was wondering what cause would be taken up by the OCCUPY TORONTO CABAL…come on people it is a restaurant and I am sure they could relocate to an area with cheaper rents and where the customers would kill for a home cooked meal…give Sean Penn a call.
My neighbours and I don’t support any of the business around Broadview and Queen because we were told that the creep who own’s that big nasty strip club on the corner owns all of the property around there. We don’t like to support people like that. If anything in that neighbourhood needs to go it’s that ugly and offensive strip club with all of those huge half naked women posters.
This Building is a historical land Mark to say the less , they should be giving @ lest 2 years plus compensation , and first option to return to new building … what happened to fighting for the little guy … if some one was to push some any of us Toronto residents with a opinion out of our home we would like to know we would have public support , well guess what most people spend more time @ work then with there family’s so this is the home of the real jerk staff and the Dinning Room to its customers …. support it to support your self fight it to fight your self ….. “END CHAT”
JUST get all of your FACTS straight before you mouth off about something you and “your neighbours” know absolutely nothing about.
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