Dispute with city of Toronto could cost two restaurants their prized patios

Two well-established Toronto restaurants, Desotos Eatery and Atomic 10, face potential closure due to a contentious licensing dispute with the City of Toronto. Desotos Eatery, originally opened as Regal Heights Bistro by Tony Merante in 2004, has been a St. Clair West staple for two decades, offering family-friendly dining with affordable prices. The restaurant has been a crucial part of the community, hosting numerous family gatherings, date nights, and special occasions.

In response, a petition on by the restaurant owner Tony Merante has been launched to urge Toronto’s licensing office to reconsider its stance. As it stands, the petition has garnered substantial support from the community, reflecting the public’s recognition of the restaurants’ importance to the neighbourhood. The ongoing dispute highlights the tension that can arise between small business operations and municipal regulations, especially when it comes to restaurant patios that still need to win the approval of local residents.

“We believe there is a disconnect between the facts and the allegations from the city on the regulations around the configuration of the patio,” the petition reads, in part. “The patios of both businesses become a crucial part in the approaching warmer months and with a closure would jeopardize the lifeline of the business.”

Throughout its operation, Desotos has navigated various challenges, the petition explained, including prolonged disruptions due to St. Clair West TTC streetcar construction and significant impacts from pandemic-related closures and restrictions. Similarly, Atomic 10 has gained popularity and has become known for its dishes frequently showcased across social media platforms.

Both restaurants share a patio that they claim was approved by city inspectors in 2016, which has since been a vital feature, especially during warmer months. However, recent threats from the city to revoke their operating licenses over alleged patio configuration violations could lead to their shutdown, jeopardizing the livelihoods of their many employees.

Street of Toronto has requested a comment from the city on this issue, and will update the article when it is provided. 

Article exclusive to STREETS OF TORONTO