St. Lawrence Market: we’ve hit the fast food tipping point

6 Jul

The St. Lawrence Market neighbourhood has just about as many fast food joints as it can handle.  Between Starbucks, Pizza Pizza, McDonald’s and Jack Astor’s, there are as many chain restaurants per square inch as you’d find in *cringe* a suburban shopping mall. That’s why I was mortified when I saw my friend Angie’s picture of the shiny new Burger King at the corner of Front and George streets.

Burger King - you are a waste of space.

Burger King – you are a waste of space.

I’m no civic activist, and the property owner is free to choose his tenant, but this is a situation where the neighbourhood needs to vote with its feet.  It’s taken a while, but there are a growing number of innovative and high-quality cafés, bars and restaurants that are helping to foster a true community feeling in the St. Lawrence Market area. Think AAA, Fahrenheit, Betty’s, Pacific Junction Hotel and Fusaro’s.  These have popped up alongside the established, low key locals such as Paddington’s Pump, Patrician Grill, Bellissimo’s and On the Rocks.  All these places, new or old, have the character and soul that are the lifeblood of a true neighbourhood.  By definition, a chain restaurant like Burger King could never have that.  Yet character and soul are what the neighbourhood needs more of as it grows with each new development.

Perhaps the geniuses behind this Burger King location thought that they could capitalize on the nearby George Brown crowd by offering them cheap crap to gobble down while studying (or avoiding studying).  To all those George Brown-ites who might fall for this – there are other, cheaper places. If you want cheap, go to Patrician Grill on King, or to Bellissimo’s down Sherbourne.  They’re just as cheap, and they even have character and soul!  If it’s truly a burger you’re looking for, there is a positively dizzying array of good burgers within spitting distance.  The Jason George has a really well executed pub burger and, on Tuesdays, it’s $5.95! Best of all, it’s RIGHT NEXT DOOR!  As well, Paddington’s and Patrician both do a made-from-scratch flat-top diner style burger that will knock your socks off.

There’s simply not enough room for both a Burger King and a McDonald’s on the same street corner.  Despite wanting a Burger King in the neighbourhood about as much as I wanted an ice cream during the polar vortex, maybe it’ll give the world’s worst McDonald’s a competitive kick in the teeth and put it out of business.  That may be the only silver lining in this unfortunate state of affairs.



One Response to “St. Lawrence Market: we’ve hit the fast food tipping point”

  1. Ted Genova October 16, 2014 at 10:56 am #

    Couldn’t agree with you more! I have lived in St. Lawrence since 1978 and have witnessed the ongoing suburbanization of the neighbourhood from a retail perspective.
    I also own at store, Flatiron’s Chrismasmarket ( almost 30 years ) at 35 Jarvis st. I have seen many a good businesses fail or close because of greedy landlords interested onlyin the high test rents for the tacky generic
    businesses. Do these people get out and see the world? How many fast foodjoints, nails salons and supposed coffee houses ( I.e. chains) can a neighbourhood take. I didn’t invest the better half of my life for la Vida Suburbia in St. Lawrence.

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