Iconic Real Jerk hits another barrier

By Gerald V. Paul
More than two dozen condo residents are trying to stop the Real Jerk restaurant, an institution in downtown Toronto, from obtaining a liquor license.

The residents wrote to the province’s License Appeal Tribunal opposing the license, citing concerns about increased noise levels and decreased property values.

This is the latest hurdle facing the iconic restaurant, evicted from its original Queen Street location last year after the property, without the knowledge of the owners, was sold to developers.

The owners, Jamaicans Ed and Lily Pottinger, moved the business to a new location, and are preparing to open its doors soon along Queen Street East.

However, the latest snafu over the liquor license is the newest challenge they’re facing.

The new site for the restaurant is the main floor of a condo building, located just a few blocks west of their original restaurant.

The move to block the restaurant from selling liquor is surprising, since the original restaurant also had a liquor license and never had any problems.

In an attempt work out a compromise, a preliminary hearing was held last Tuesday and continues next month.

The new restaurant is to be located in a building designated as “mixed-use” as part of the wider city’s planning to put commercial units at street level while offering housing on the upper levels.

The area the Pottingers want to lease is zoned commercial, which means a restaurant can offer liquor there.

The building’s owners always planned to house a restaurant at street level, reports said, but with the residents protesting, it could be another hurdle in the way of the Real Jerk.

“It’s really unfortunate it’s come to this, because it was zoned to have this happen, and every restaurant has a liquor licence along Queen Street, “ Paula Fletcher, City Councillor for the area said.