Canadian Franchise

The city feels alive again”: Toronto restaurants owners are optimistic about the future

Charcoal Group will open its first Beertown location in downtown Toronto as the city begins to re-open

Charcoal Group is making its downtown Toronto debut after over a year of unpredictability in the restaurant industry.

“The summer feels like a re-birth for Toronto and the restaurants that have been struggling throughout the pandemic,” says CEO and partner of Charcoal Group, Jody Palubiski. “The city truly feels alive again – we couldn’t think of a better time to open our doors.”

Palubiski isn’t wrong. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Toronto has faced the longest lockdown in the country, causing many restaurants and bars to simplify menus, shift their business toward take-out and delivery or close altogether.

But as COVID-19 restrictions lift, restaurants still face barriers, including labour shortages, with various restaurants reporting on the newfound challenge of hiring and training staff. Yet Jody Palubiski has a more optimistic view of the current restaurant industry and its overlooked value in providing customers and staff something they’ve been missing; human connection. 

Palubiski’s experience has been different from other restaurateurs, reporting that consumer demand is at an all-time high. Tables are filled, and reservations are booked, as friends and family are eager to reconnect and make up for lost time. According to Statistics Canada, 22 million guests are supporting local restaurants every day. While current labour shortages are undeniable, Jody Palubiski believes that the value, enthusiasm and leadership of hospitality workers often goes unnoticed.

“Of all the incredible things that had many people flocking to our industry in the past including flexibility, teamwork, creativity, rewarding pay and benefits, they are what will bring back quality individuals; it will just take a little time,” says Palubiski.

Given the demand for connection, accompanied by cold beer and great food, Charcoal Group is opening Beertown Public House in downtown Toronto, the concept’s 8th location. Located at 125 Wellington Street West, the restaurant will open its doors to the public on August 12, offering a variety of local beer, plant-based and gluten-friendly menu options, and most importantly – a place to reconnect.

“Opening a location in Toronto feels like a return to home,” says Palubiski. With over 30 years of industry experience – much of which was spent in the downtown Toronto core – and the recipient of the Canadian Independent Restaurateur of the Year award in 2019, Palubiski is confident Charcoal Group is ready for its next venture in Toronto.

Corporate Executive Chef of Charcoal Group, Todd Clarmo, can be accredited for leading the company’s great culinary success. Clarmo has acted as the driving force of creativity and innovation within some of Toronto’s most renowned restaurants for more than two decades.

“Launching a restaurant amidst concerns of public demand and hiring shortages has its challenges, but the motivation for me is to bring guests and staff back together again,” reassures Palubiski.

About Charcoal Group Charcoal Group is an inspired group of full-service restaurants located across in Southern Ontario with over 65 years in the hospitality industry. Our concepts include The Charcoal Steakhouse, Martini’s, Dels Italian, Wildcraft Grill & Long Bar, Wildcraft Wherever Catering, The Bauer Kitchen, The Bauer Bakery & Café, Moose Winooski’s, Beertown Public House, and Sociable Kitchen & Tavern. Our mission is to build a group of insanely great restaurants that exceed stakeholder expectations with unrivalled execution in all we do.