TORONTO: Say Goodbye To The Real Jerk (For Now)

A lot of distressing things flitted across my computer screen today. First, I was CAPS LOCK attacked by a Facebook friend who was upset that I didn't believe that Blue Ivy = Eulb Yvi = the bastard child of Satan. Then, I had to create a classy response to a not-so-classy email sent by a colleague - being "the bigger person" when you really just want to drop kick someone takes STRENF. But the most distressing of all? Reading a tweet from BlogTO (@blogTO) that Toronto landmark The Real Jerk will be closing its doors on January 31st.

As per the message from TRJ's owner Edward Pottinger:

"It is with heavy hearts that we send this message to all of you. Our building has unexpectedly been sold on Dec 30, 2011 and the new owner has issued an order to move as of Jan 31, 2012. We would have hoped to stay longer, long enough for us to secure a new location but this will not be feasible. While we fight the unfair order we sadly must prepare for the real possibility that our days are numbered at the corner of Queen & Broadview, a location we have very much loved for 22 years."

The Real Jerk has been open for over 25 years, and spent 22 at their current location at Queen and Broadview. I heard about this restaurant before I even moved to Toronto, and was NOT disappointed the first time I ate there. The ambiance is INCREDIBLE. The exterior is beautiful, and the interior transports you to a diner in the heart of Mo' Bay. And where else in the city can you spend a night doing karaoke Irie-Oke with the liquid courage of a Red Stripe or two? Sigh. My heart is heavy, y'all.

Once the shock subsided, my next thought was: we need to own our sh*t. Straight up. Own as much as possible so that no one can take anything away from you. It's a lesson that I find a lot of entrepreneurs in the Black community (which is much broader than you think) are still learning. We need to go full throttle with our ownership so that we can be in full control of the growth of our businesses. I'll be the first to admit: I don't know anything about building and restaurant ownership, and I have no idea as to the business arrangements that The Real Jerk had with their building owner. Regardless, it's heartbreaking and unfair that they have been given such short notice, and I hope they come back bigger and better.

So, folks - take these next few weeks to patron The Real Jerk and show them your love and support. Stay tuned to their website and their Facebook page to follow up on any updates, and keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they move through this transition.

Stay up, TRJ! The community will come through for you. 

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