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Iconic beloved Yorkville diner is closing due to lease dispute… for now at least


TORONTO, February 22, 2024 – Torontonians flocked there for the food and stayed for the familial atmosphere. But after an illustrious 33-year run as Yorkville’s quintessential family diner, Flo’s Diner will bid farewell on March 31, leaving behind an irreplaceable legacy as the premier brunch spot for countless families, devoted locals, A-list celebrities, and political figures that included mayors, premiers, and even prime ministers.

Co-owners Pierre Hamel and Peter Lau (pictured above) still hope to find a new location for Flo’s Diner in Yorkville but are not certain when and if that might happen. March 24 will mark the end of an era as Flo’s serves its final meals before vacating its cherished home of 23 years at 70 Yorkville Avenue.

A legal dispute with the landlord reached its climax this month when Flo’s was denied the opportunity to extend its lease and not offered a new one. The unexpected outcome has deeply affected Hamel, Lau, and loyal patrons alike. “This legal challenge means we’re losing 15 valued staff members and hundreds of cherished patrons. We’re devastated and hopeful that the landlord will reconsider its decision not to renew our lease.”

Entering Flo’s was like stepping into a scene from a classic film – adorned with checkerboard floors, art deco counters and stools, plush leather-bound booths, and walls decorated with diner memorabilia. 

Flo’s was anything but ordinary. With one of the highest staff retention rates in the city, “Once you worked at Flo’s, you stayed at Flo’s,” remarks veteran line cook “Suresh”, who has been crafting burgers and grilled cheese sandwiches for over a decade. 

A perennial breakfast favourite among three generations of food enthusiasts was Flo’s Eggs Benedict, complete with a generous dollop of velvety hollandaise sauce and crispy home fries.

Flo's is closing

Young or old, everyone felt at home at Flo’s, where babies and young kids were never a bother. “Our patrons are like family to us, and we are endlessly grateful for the vibrant memories and shared experiences. Each person who dined here was – and still is – part of the Flo’s Family.”

In 1988, Hamel made the journey from Quebec City to Toronto with the aim of mastering English. “I arrived with the goal of improving my English and found myself working as a busboy at 4’D Diner, which later evolved into Flo’s Diner in 1990 under the ownership of Bersani and Carlevale.”

In 1994, Hamel became a partner in the renowned brunch spot at 10 Bellair Avenue. By 2000, Flo’s had relocated to its current location at 70 Yorkville Avenue, featuring a picturesque rooftop patio and lines stretching out the door. Lau became a partner in 2008. 

Throughout the years, customers blossomed into friends, with many starting families and sharing life milestones with the owners. “Just recently, a couple who frequents our diner pointed to one of our patio tables where they had their first date. Now, five years later, they’re expecting their first child. These stories epitomize what Flo’s is all about. It wasn’t just a place of business; it was a sanctuary for gathering, sharing stories, and laughter. We take immense pride in our incredibly loyal patrons.”

Everyone is hoping Flo’s will find new digs in the Yorkville (sooner rather than later), but at the moment this iconic Toronto diner will be serving its last meals on March 24, 2024.

Other articles from totimes.ca – otttimes.ca – mtltimes.ca

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