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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.
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!