What’s the deal with Captain John’s, the restaurant-on-a-boat at Yonge and Queens Quay?
Dear Urban Decoder: What’s the deal with Captain John’s, the restaurant-on-a-boat at Yonge and Queens Quay? I’ve never seen anybody go in or come out.—Karen Lin, DOWNTOWN
First things first: Captain John is not a naval captain. He is, however, Toronto’s only floating restaurant entrepreneur, and that has to count for something. John Letnik is a Yugoslavian emigré who came to Canada in 1957. The ship that currently sits at the foot of Yonge isn’t his first buoyant business: the original was in a former ferry called the Normac. Things went swimmingly until 1981, when the aquatic eatery was rammed by the ferry Trillium and sank two weeks later (nobody was hurt, but dinner was ruined). Fortunately, a few years before the accident, Letnik had purchased a second, bigger ship: the Jadran, a Yugoslavian liner that once plied the Adriatic. With 16 sailors (a real captain presumably among them), Captain John sailed the vessel across the Atlantic to the spot where it’s moored today. Though the ship was designed to carry hundreds, the restaurant—not known for its world-class cuisine—hasn’t exactly been packing them in of late. At press time, however, it was still afloat.