Toronto has experienced a surge of new and notable restaurant openings this summer. Among them, there’s been an upscale Thai eatery from an ‘Iron Chef,’ a hidden speakeasy beneath a laundromat and a comeback from Susur Lee. While the city celebrated exciting new openings this season, we’ve also seen our fair share of high-profile closures making the rounds.
Here’s a rundown of some of the most significant closures we’ve seen this summer.
Pow Wow Café
As summer kicked off, Pow Wow Café, a beloved fixture in Kensington Market, revealed its closure after a seven-year run. Renowned for its tacos served on Ojibway-style frybread, this cozy spot was also a go-to for weekend brunch and drinks. Since the closure, owner Shawn Adler has been actively engaged in pop-ups and events throughout Ontario.
Lamesa Filipino Food Club
Renowned for its Filipino-infused offerings, including fried chicken, milkfish, and adobo fries, Lamesa made a significant impact for 11 years. Its opening was a response to the absence of sit-down, full-service Filipino restaurants in downtown Toronto. However, the St. Clair West establishment shuttered in early June. Owner Lester Sabilano shared on Instagram, “I’ve poured a lot into this business over the past 11 years but lately I’ve really felt the feelings of burnout and exhaustion that I’m sure many others in the industry can relate to all too well so we decided it is time for a change.”
Oliver & Bonacini restaurant Sap, (formerly known as Bannock until 2021) was located at Queen and Bay and served up inventive Canadian comfort dishes like roast duck poutine pizza and Arcadian Court chicken pot pie. Open since 2011, the restaurant’s final service took place in early July.Citing pandemic effects, escalating expenses, and persistent disruptions due to nearby construction, the decision to close was inevitable. Among O&B’s lineup of new ventures, The Constance Tavern is gearing up for a launch “soon,” conveniently situated across the street.
Country Style Hungarian Restaurant
An Annex fixture for over sixty years, renowned for its delectable cabbage rolls and schnitzel, bid farewell in early August. As one of the initial Hungarian eateries on Bloor Street, patrons had been frequenting this establishment for decades. Katalin Koltai, who held ownership for the last 23 years and had herself been a customer in the 60s during her U of T days, expressed her readiness for retirement as the reason for the closure.
The newest member of the Planta family opened in early 2021. This spot showcased inventive plant-based renditions of Mexican classics like black bean taro tots, empanadas, and jackfruit tacos. Located at the heart of the Financial District, the restaurant unexpectedly closed around a month ago, leaving patrons without an explanation.
Herbivores received disheartening news in June as the city’s inaugural all-vegan Italian restaurant revealed its upcoming closure. Osteria Du, launched on Queen West in 2021 by the Awai Hospitality Group, known for their local successes like Avelo and M!LK, will be shutting its doors. The restaurant explained in an Instagram post that escalating rent to pre-pandemic levels and current economic conditions are at odds. Their final service will take place in September.