Once upon a time there was a place, a kind of delightfully welcoming hole in the wall across the street from the ROM, where you could get a couple of spring rolls, the best BBQ pork, greens, a bowl of soup and an endless pot of tea for not much money. So you’d leave a huge tip because the owners were so amazing and lovely and even though the place was always crowded with regulars, and you only went in a few times a year, they knew you, remembered what you liked, were all smiles as you walked in. As if it hadn’t been half a year.
The decor was mostly red with magic marker specials that never seemed to change on sheets of bristol board stapled to panelling. There were jars of soy sauce and chili flakes and plastic roses on the tables, the kind that look wet—the first time I saw them, fifteen years ago, I thought they were real. That was before I had a good look around.
We were there a few weeks ago and found a handwritten sign in very bad English taped to the door. The place had closed. The sign said they hoped to re-open sometime. Somewhere. They didn’t yet know where. (Have since googled them and found they’ve moved to a whole different part of the city, a whole different city in fact… )
So sad to lose places that give character and sweetness to a neighbourhood. And how ironic that it’s precisely these places that are part of what draws people to wanting to move there, yet the very act of moving more people in forces the charming places to move out.
Oh Condoronto, whatever are you doing?? (Fun fact: there are more high rises/condos being built in Toronto than anywhere else in North America.)
I’d be surprised if a year from now there’s even one restaurant left in this neck of the woods (or many others) that has anything resembling plastic roses with fake water droplets and people who shout Hello! and remember, even after six months, that you like the pork lean and always with baby bok choy.