By Ana Maria De La Fuente
After more than 18 years Mr. Tasty Burger, a burger joint that served burgers and fries to thousands of Ryerson students, closed its doors forever in December.
Affixed to the door, a note offers gratitude and a brief explanation of the closure. The owner, John, writes that it is time to “move on.” He thanked the Church Street and Ryerson communities, and the officers at divisions 51 and 52 for their long-standing patronage.
Don Boyd, owner of Top Barber and Hairstylist was surprised by the closure because he remembers always seeing the place full of students. He thought they were only renovating. A popular spot for students late at night on their way home from the bars, Tasty Burger also provided shelter for some homeless people.
Mr. Tasty Burger has seen a variety of characters pass through their doors, most notably a mysterious hooded gunman that sent shock waves through the community in 2004.
The gunman walked in and shot a customer in the head execution-style. The customer was eating fries when he was shot in the back of the head. He did not survive his injuries.
“We are all kind of thinking that’s right next door to us,” says, a neighbor who didn’t want to give his name. “But they had a lot of unsavoury people there, but as long as you keep your nose clean you are pretty good.”
Byrant Hall works in the area and was a self-described regular at Mr. Tasty Burger. He was not living in Toronto at the time of the shootings, and says he will miss going there.
Hall said the staff were very friendly and welcoming to customers. “I will especially miss the guys that worked there; they were super nice and super cool,” he said.
The staff knew most of the people in the neighborhood, and would often have conversations with the customers about the Church Street goings-on, Hall said. Despite being a vegetarian, Hall went to Mr. Tasty Burger twice a week for a dose of poutine or fries.
He said the friends he went there with described the burgers as being the best available in the area. Hall said the staff were optimistic about Mr. Tasty Burger’s future, often expressing their optimism that business was going to pick-up.
He said that Mr. Tasty Burger was usually quiet when he went in for food the late-afternoon, but was busy at lunch time. A Sushi Plaza will be moving into the burger joint’s old home.
Neon signage has already been installed, one exclaims “No Tips” to entice future customers.
— with files from Patrick Szpak