Tuxedo Village Restaurant has had a few owners over the years. River Heights and Tuxedo suffer from a lack of restaurants. Lots of houses, but not a lot of places to hang out, talk with folks and get a meal from breakfast to dinner. The closure of the Sal’s, where the present Liquor Mart is, was particularly effective in removing a place that seniors to students used 24 hours. While we agreed a liquor store was well suited for the mall, Sal’s disappeared. The nearest liquor store prior for River Heights and Tuxedo was some blocks away.

A Timothy’s and a Starbucks are opposite each other on this stretch of Corydon and of course there is Rumor’s which has been around since the very early 1980s. However, a family restaurant is something every neighbourhood needs. It is tasty, covers the whole day for offerings, isn’t overly pricey and knows the whole family. A lot of families drive out of the neighbourhood to find that because it isn’t in their area.

Tuxedo Village Restaurant was that place for many year. With the big grocery across the street, recreational facilities next door and the intersection of Tuxedo and Corydon right there, it was and still is the perfect location. Passing from owner to owner, it ought to have been an institution to last decades but alas, it wasn’t.

The last owners took over in 2018. Even before the pandemic started something appeared off. Rumours of employee and owner friction abounded. Some of these comments found their way to social media just as Stella’s went through its dark period. It isn’t easy to run a restaurant at the best of times but how workers are treated eventually gets out.

The pandemic brought a new response from owners when they made it clear they were going to ignore restrictions. However, commentary on Jews, blacks and indigenous also crept up in media as well as social media commentary by employees. The fines piled up and while it seemed support from those chafing at rules was filling seats, the aftermath was that locals stayed away. And kept staying away.

The past owners put the business up for sale and in the windows now are signs for George’s Burger and Subs. The windows are papered over and a makeover inside is taking place that will probably last into the fall. Georges Burgers & Subs has been around since 1975 and has five other locations in the city and two outside of it.

The menu varies between George’s. Many serve affordable breakfasts, have hours that go into the the evenings and have a few items for those not wanting to eat a Fat Boy every meal. Since a Greek family is behind it, imagine a few Greek dishes as well as everything in between. Seating is likely to be around the same at 40 seats, 15 to 20 staff and new signage. Many local businesses and residents are greatly looking forward to the return of a restaurant on the spot.

The neighbourhood restaurant is always going to be a community centre of family talks, gossip and opinion. People should feel safe there in terms of hygiene and food, building safety, pest control and yes, a pandemic. They should also feel they are not subject to bigotry in all its forms. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion but rules on safety and the treatment of people have been put in place because of past experience. For example, we know that pests can cause foodborne and airborne illness and death. It is why restaurants are required to submit to inspections and can be closed till the problem is corrected. It isn’t the woke crowd trying to persecute.

Many restaurants did their best in compliance these past years. Some did not survive while others deserve your patronage and respect as they try to re-build in these last several months. We all deserve neighbourhood restaurants who nourish our bodies and souls. It is very likely George’s will receive a warm welcome from Tuxedo, River Heights and Charleswood in the days ahead.

This has been a guest editorial by John Dobbin.
To read more from John, visit his blog Observations, Reservations, Conversations