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Hollinger's Closed

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Hollinger's on Coxwell has been seized by their landlord. The owners were really nice, the food - though hardly gourmet - was good, and the prices were reasonable. Very sad.

Restaurant Makeover strikes again...

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  1. We tried to go there Saturday night and I wondered what was up. Too bad for the neighbourhood.

    1. Oh no. I loved that place. Only had two meals there, but they were both fine and the ambience for a pub was really nice.

      1. I wonder where the EYCI students are going to drink now?

        1. That's pretty sad. I used to go there once in a while. I love the prime ribs there and the atmosphere. The owner is nice and I like the Jazz bands every weekend. I wonder how they are doing without the restaurant now.

          Damn another RM curse.

          1. We live on the doorstep, and we never went in. Somehow it was forbidding. It was normally just a few guys sat at the bar and the rest of the place empty. It was never the right atmosphere to takes one's SO. There are a number of places that have even more of that feel in East York. Italian cafes with (mainly) older Italians that openly eye the women up and down, a Persian restaurant where you just 'feel' they don't want a woman there. I am not accusing Hollingers of deliberately being like that, but it always felt to us as a male oriented place. Let's call it 'The Sports Bar Effect.'

            5 Replies
            1. re: Paulustrious

              And it's especially sad, since it wasn't true. Previous owners had turned Hollinger's into a hangout for "undesirables". It had once been a local institution (for at least 50 years), but became so bad that the owner of the coffee place next door warned us to stay away.

              The most recent owners tried to change all of that. They were a young Greek couple with a newborn child and a really good meat supplier in their family. They turned it into a family friendly place and an event venue with a dance floor. They could hardly have been more welcoming or nicer.

              The food quality was very high and the guy knew how to cook. In the RM episode, Lynn Crawford was really, and very unexpectedly, blown away by the food. They even paid extra to RM because the place was too big to finish within the budget.

              They tried bargain prime rib and live music on weekends and they worked very hard, but the crowds never came and the old image stuck. The few guys hanging at the bar near the end seemed to be the owner's friends. It's a real loss to the neighbourhood.

              1. re: embee

                If they were trying to be so different from the previous place, why didn't they divorce themselves from the old name?

                I live just around the corner and I didn't even know they'd changed ownership from before -- until I saw this posting. I might have given the place a try.

                I have both family and friends in the area that similarly had no idea it was not still an unsavoury and run-down bar.

                1. re: Atahualpa

                  That's a good question, I assume rhetorical, and I certainly don't know what they were thinking. In hindsight, they probably should have changed the name and they certainly should have promoted themselves more widely.

                  I do know that the place had once been a neighbourhood institution and that the name had some historical significance in East York.

                  They promoted their changes onsite, and offered some great promo deals, but your post implies that they didn't clue in the neighbourhood. Possibly confirming this, I know of a school staff from the immediate area that chose Whistler's (worse food, higher prices) instead of Hollinger's for their Xmas party because of that past rep.

                  1. re: Atahualpa

                    There was outcry on these very forums during the RM saying "They better not change the name!"

                    I was there once, after the show, and everything was decent, but I don't like eating in an empty restaurant.

                    Go visit the vietnamese place next door!

                    1. re: szw

                      Yeah, remarkably decent Vietnamese (only been a couple of times though).

              2. I'm sad about Hollingers.
                Not surprised though. Restaurant Makeover should have suggested a name change to reflect the good food, and not Bar Fare. That killed them.
                I ate there 5 times since the makeover and it was empty, on my 6th visit 15 mins. before opening we were turned away. In a hurry we went to the overpriced Jawney Bakers instead. It's too bad, the area really needs a unique restaurant like Hollingers was, with good food.