Real Jerk relocates to Carlaw and Gerrard!
Same chefs, same logo, new location for the landmark Toronto restaurant, set to reopen soon after an unsuccessful battle against eviction.
story by Melinda Maldonado Staff Reporter, TheStar.com
Knock-down is not knock-out.
An uncle’s words resonate for restaurant owner Ed Pottinger, as The Real Jerk ends an almost two-year struggle to reopen with plans to dish out rotis and jerk chicken later this month at a new location.
A controversial eviction from its landmark Queen and Broadview location sent the 28-year-old Jamaican restaurant on a hunt for a new home, which ended Friday when owners Ed and Lily Pottinger got the keys to the new venue at 842 Gerrard St. E. and Carlaw Ave.
“It’s over,” said Ed Pottinger. “No more fighting, no more waiting, no more wishing and hoping. We’re here.”
Finally locking down a location is a relief, said Pottinger, because aside from a few catering gigs, the couple has been unemployed since the closure.
“I have no doubt, once we open the doors it’s going to be jammed. But until then, we have to be back on peanut butter sandwiches and jam.”
Hope rose and fell by March, when plans to move into the ground floor of Edge Lofts, a six-storey structure at 625 Queen St. E., fell through amid opposition from residents.
More than two dozen loft-dwellers complained to the Licence Appeal Tribunal of concerns over noise levels and decreased property values. The Tribunal granted The Real Jerk a licence, says Pottinger, but they never signed a lease.
“I just said no. Too much of a hostile situation to really think of operating a business.”
After checking out a few other possibilities, Pottinger fell in love with the new location’s layout, parking and proximity to his customer base.
The atmosphere will be “a little bit more upscale” and there will be changes to the menu and a new cocktail list, but the hearty Caribbean food that made the joint famous is still on the menu, and 95 per cent of the restaurant’s former employees — about 15 people — are coming back.