TasteToronto | Universal Grill announces permanent closure

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Universal Grill announces permanent closure

Universal Grill announces permanent closure

Universal Grill announces permanent closure

One of the city's most well-loved and nostalgic diners, Universal Grill, has sadly just announced their permanent closure following financial struggles related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The restaurant tucked on the corner of Dupont and Shaw, has been serving up brunch staples for the past 24 years in a historic building that was previously home to another old-school diner. Universal became known over the years for their puffy buttermilk pancakes, bean-and-cheese loaded huevos rancheros and hearty, melty sandwiches, making it the ideal spot for a slow and decadent weekend brunch. They also served classics like mussels, burgers and ribs for weeknight dinners, with a decent wine list as accompaniment and a bonus Sunday evening bring-your-own-wine program.

Unfortunately, the restaurant's financial strain during the months they spent closed down was too difficult to recover from, leaving them with the difficult decision to shut down the restaurant for good. They took to their Instagram page on Friday to say their goodbyes to the community and make a few heartfelt thank yous. They cited, in particular, the work of two of their extremely loyal, hard-working chefs: Thambirajah Inpanathan, who had been with Universal since the very beginning and created their famous Rajah's dry rib recipe, as well as Sean Keenan, who cooked up their famed brunch offerings every weekend for 16 years. Lastly, Universal thanked all dedicated staff members and their generations of customers who shared many family meals and celebrations with the restaurant.

View this post on Instagram

It is with heavy hearts we are making the announcement that Universal Grill is now permanently closed after an incredible 24 years of serving Toronto. The financial strain associated with being closed during the COVID-19 crisis was beyond what we could handle. There are many people to thank for making Universal Grill so special and able to thrive for so many years. Firstly, Thambirajah Inpanathan, the genius behind Rajah’s dry ribs. Rajah has been the true backbone of Universal Grill and without him, it would not be the same. He has been with us since the beginning and is the hardest working person I have ever seen in a kitchen. His dedication is beyond words. Thank you Raj. We love you. Next, our brunch chef Sean Keenan who has never missed a weekend of serving up what some might say was Toronto’s best brunch. For the last 16 years he has been there, just as eager on the last day of service as he was the first. Thank you Sean, you amaze everyone. Our staff… we wouldn’t have lasted as long as we did without the love everyone put into our little restaurant, both front and back of house. Everyone pitched in and wore multiple hats. I don’t think it’s too often you see staff stay employed at a restaurant for up to 10 years or more… and then keep in touch, and remain friends once ways are parted. Thank you. Our customers.. imagine generation after generation of families choosing to visit us. Engagements, weddings, births, anniversaries - you allowed us celebrate with you, and we cherish that. Dear friends were made, thoughtful conversations had. Thank you all the way back to 1996. It’s been a wonderful journey, Toronto. Xoxoxo. #since1996 #tbt

A post shared by Universal Grill (@universalgrillto) on

Universal Grill held a special place in the hearts of Torontonians and brunch lovers from far and wide and their cozy, friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and they will be greatly missed!

Tags:

Restaurant Closures

Universal Grill

Universal Grill announces permanent closure

News

20 days ago

Universal Grill announces permanent closure

Emma Kula

Emma Kula

Instagram

One of the city's most well-loved and nostalgic diners, Universal Grill, has sadly just announced their permanent closure following financial struggles related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The restaurant tucked on the corner of Dupont and Shaw, has been serving up brunch staples for the past 24 years in a historic building that was previously home to another old-school diner. Universal became known over the years for their puffy buttermilk pancakes, bean-and-cheese loaded huevos rancheros and hearty, melty sandwiches, making it the ideal spot for a slow and decadent weekend brunch. They also served classics like mussels, burgers and ribs for weeknight dinners, with a decent wine list as accompaniment and a bonus Sunday evening bring-your-own-wine program.

Unfortunately, the restaurant's financial strain during the months they spent closed down was too difficult to recover from, leaving them with the difficult decision to shut down the restaurant for good. They took to their Instagram page on Friday to say their goodbyes to the community and make a few heartfelt thank yous. They cited, in particular, the work of two of their extremely loyal, hard-working chefs: Thambirajah Inpanathan, who had been with Universal since the very beginning and created their famous Rajah's dry rib recipe, as well as Sean Keenan, who cooked up their famed brunch offerings every weekend for 16 years. Lastly, Universal thanked all dedicated staff members and their generations of customers who shared many family meals and celebrations with the restaurant.

View this post on Instagram

It is with heavy hearts we are making the announcement that Universal Grill is now permanently closed after an incredible 24 years of serving Toronto. The financial strain associated with being closed during the COVID-19 crisis was beyond what we could handle. There are many people to thank for making Universal Grill so special and able to thrive for so many years. Firstly, Thambirajah Inpanathan, the genius behind Rajah’s dry ribs. Rajah has been the true backbone of Universal Grill and without him, it would not be the same. He has been with us since the beginning and is the hardest working person I have ever seen in a kitchen. His dedication is beyond words. Thank you Raj. We love you. Next, our brunch chef Sean Keenan who has never missed a weekend of serving up what some might say was Toronto’s best brunch. For the last 16 years he has been there, just as eager on the last day of service as he was the first. Thank you Sean, you amaze everyone. Our staff… we wouldn’t have lasted as long as we did without the love everyone put into our little restaurant, both front and back of house. Everyone pitched in and wore multiple hats. I don’t think it’s too often you see staff stay employed at a restaurant for up to 10 years or more… and then keep in touch, and remain friends once ways are parted. Thank you. Our customers.. imagine generation after generation of families choosing to visit us. Engagements, weddings, births, anniversaries - you allowed us celebrate with you, and we cherish that. Dear friends were made, thoughtful conversations had. Thank you all the way back to 1996. It’s been a wonderful journey, Toronto. Xoxoxo. #since1996 #tbt

A post shared by Universal Grill (@universalgrillto) on

Universal Grill held a special place in the hearts of Torontonians and brunch lovers from far and wide and their cozy, friendly and welcoming atmosphere, and they will be greatly missed!

Tags:

Restaurant Closures

Universal Grill