Owner Jacob Wharton-Shukster was still planning to reopen his Parkdale restaurant Chantecler still more than a year after it was destroyed in a fire in 2019. Now its future is uncertain after learning that the company that took over 1320 Queen Street West is considering moving a chain of restaurants to space.
“We met them, looked at our plans, sent them drawings and they said they would probably get us back,” said Wharton-Shukster, who opened Chantecler in 2012 and said he initially met the developers in March about his desire to reopen. . “I asked for a firm commitment and they kept delaying and dodging my phone calls.”
Then, at the end of May, Wharton-Shukster received an email from a secretary of Infinitas Canada, a renovation company that is part of the real estate developer Monde Development Group, saying that “the board has chosen to go ahead with a major franchise in the restaurant business. . “
The email, which the Star reviewed, said Majid Hamid, who is behind Infinitas and is also the founder and CEO of Monde “went to bat” for Chantecler but was “canceled.”
“We remain available if you need any help moving forward,” the email read.
The World Development Group website says Mary Brown’s Chicken, a Canadian fried chicken chain that started in Newfoundland in 1969, will open a flagship store on Queen Street West in Parkdale as part of a five-year plan to bring five Mary Brown’s stores in Toronto. It doesn’t say when the Parkdale location will open. Hamid declined to comment when contacted by the Star and has not confirmed whether the chain of chickens will open in the former Chantecler space.
There was no written or formal agreement from Le Monde or Infinitas that Chantecler would return to the building, but Wharton-Shukster said the building’s previous owners were committed to rebuilding it and welcoming it again. .
Wharton-Shukster felt the deal would continue when Infinitas officially took over the building in April, after the building’s previous owners sold it. He said he presented architectural designs for the reconstructed Chantecler to the World, found a contractor, and told them he made business decisions by reopening Chantecler in its original location.
Two months after the fire destroyed Chantecler, Wharton-Shukster opened Le Phenix Across the Street as a replacement for six months. It still works and a back patio was built for outdoor dining during the pandemic. But the lease for this space expires in October and Wharton-Shukster does not know if it will be renewed.
Chantecler Boucherie, a butcher next to Chantecler in another building, was to complement Chantecler and use its kitchen area to prepare take-out meals. He currently uses the kitchen of the Phenix.
With Chantecler not reopening (Wharton-Shukster has already entered space to retrieve the bar top) and the possibility that The Phenix will close in the fall, he also doesn’t know what will happen with the butcher shop.
“It is not designed to exist on its own,” said Wharton-Shukster.
The restaurateur has said he would like to reopen his restaurant elsewhere in Parkdale.
“Our lease was terminated due to the fire, a case of force majeure. I’m not saying they owe us anything legally, but it’s unfortunate for the community, ”said Wharton-Shukster. “The question is where are we going to move?