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Toronto Restaurants of the 80s and 90s

All this discussion about Ponderosa, I remember that another similar American concept steakhouse had locations in the GTA at one time, and that was Sizzler. I remember a location in Whitby. That Sizzler building in Whitby still stands and has had many different restaurant and retail businesses in it since Sizzler's closure.
 
That Ponderosa Steakhouse became a church.

It's been several business over the years, but currently a health fitness type business. I still drive by it often on my way home.

All this discussion about Ponderosa, I remember that another similar American concept steakhouse had locations in the GTA at one time, and that was Sizzler. I remember a location in Whitby. That Sizzler building in Whitby still stands and has had many different restaurant and retail businesses in it since Sizzler's closure.

Hmm, never heard or remember Sizzler. Maybe it was an outside of Toronto thing?

Wasn't Chi Chi's, a Celebration of Food popular too? I remember all the commercials as a kid. Olive Garden too. There soups n salads. Though it's still around I see, but branded far more poshly with no Garden in he name.

Regarding franchise food today and some of the 'arguments' discussed here, definitely the food itself has gotten better. This is due to the hiring of 'real' chefs to set the menus. A trend started 5+ years ago. The food nowadays, even the ethnic kind are no longer a laughing a joke or "it tastes like canned food". But everything is more the same in terms of branding and visuals. More Homogeneous. Gone are the days of elaborate colours and unique design. Basically the fun has been taken out of it. This is seen even in mass chains like McDonald's, Tim's all going for that Condo Lifestyle sleek look people have become accustomed to today.
 
Never heard of Sizzler.

We go to Olive Garden in the U.S. on occasion.

Franchise food is a big thing in the U.S. -- cheap and cheerful seems to be the name of the game.
 
Never heard of Sizzler.

We go to Olive Garden in the U.S. on occasion.

Franchise food is a big thing in the U.S. -- cheap and cheerful seems to be the name of the game.

Sizzler was pretty popular in the States.

Franchise food is a big thing in Canada too, especially in places like Mississauga.
 
Probably. I just find it easier to find independent, interesting restaurants in places I frequent in Canada than in the U.S.

Back to the topic though .... the Magic Pan at the Eaton Centre!

And two places that are still going .... Swiss Chalet on Yonge downtown and the Spaghetti Factory, both of which we frequented in the 70s because they didn’t ask for ID.
 
I remember in the 80s, when my mom worked afternoon shift. My dad would take my sister and I out to the various little cafeterias, snack bars and diners for dinner. Food was always plentiful and cheap! I wish i could remember the names of those little places tucked in around the city, owned by mom and pop.

I do I remember Woolworths had a snack bar, some K-marts had cafeteria style restaurants, Zellers had diners, we used to cut the coupons out of the flyers for the Big Z burgers and clubhouse sandwich's. Coffee shops served mostly just plain old coffee and homemade soups and sandwiches. No Starbucks around in those days.
 
As far as old family corporate restaurants - O' Toole's? Olive Garden? Obie's? Golden Griddle?
 
I used to like going to Swensen's at the Eaton Centre, roughly where Garage is located now, by myself after work, to get a club sandwich and some ice cream, of course. Later, there was a Chinese buffet restaurant at that location.
 
When Eaton's was around, they had the Sir John's Restaurant upstairs.

matchbook-toronto-eatons-sir-johns-restaurant.jpg

From link.
 

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