P&M Restaurant: (on) May The Fourth (we’ll) Be With You

Yes, that is a cheap and convoluted reference to Star Wars Day. Let’s move on.

On May 4th at 10:00 a.m., Frank Kalamaris is moving his P&M family restaurant into unknown territory. After investing over a million dollars in a building and equipment just down the street from his old restaurant (the former Central Bar and Grill), Frank and his family are moving from a tiny 22-seat space into a much bigger and grander location at 1946 Weston Road. They spent three years working on the new restaurant while keeping the old place going.

Frank and his wife Niki working last month in the old restaurant.

Frank and his wife Niki at work in the old P&M.

Anyone who dined at the old P&M knew it was special. Clearly, a family was working together to create an informal place where people could meet and feel at home. It was as if you were visiting friends or family. Most days were busy and thanks to the cheery greetings and close quarters, there was no avoiding hearing and becoming involved in conversation with your fellow diners. The place was unique and a genuine Weston Treasure™ for over 40 years.

A passer-by asks Frank when he's opening.

A passer-by asks Frank when he’s opening.

WestonWeb asked Frank if he worries that the new restaurant will lack the same kind of intimacy and friendly atmosphere, especially with more room and an alcohol license. He says he is planning to have the same feeling and ambience but with more room and nicer surroundings. “A member of the family will be there at all times to make sure that things go well and customers feel welcome.”

On mentioning that the old Central Bar and Grill had begun as a family restaurant but in recent years had become a bit of a dive, Frank replied, “Although we’ll have an LCBO licence and we’d like people to have a drink with their meals, it won’t be a place for people to come and drink”, he cautioned. “We won’t serve alcohol to people unless they order food. We don’t want to become a tavern, or a hang-out place. We will make sure that families have priority.”

Son George moves kitchen equipment into place.

Son George moves kitchen equipment into place.

Frank reflects on the success his family achieved in the tiny restaurant. “We did it by getting to know people and what they liked. We have never advertised; our reputation is through word of mouth, yet we served 20,000 burgers last year.” He is fully confident that the tradition will continue in the new P&M Restaurant.

The menu has been updated but many of the old favourites are still available.

Frank and Niki proudly hold the new menu.

Frank and his wife Niki proudly hold the new menu.

For those of you wishing to have an exclusive sneak preview of the menu, (or wish to keep it on hand for take-out orders), here it is. Click on each for a close-up.

DSC05172 - 2015-04-27 at 19-50-58

Pages 1 & 2

Pages 3 & 4

Pages 5 & 6

Opening day will be unusual for P&M’s as, after that, it will be closed Mondays (traditionally the quietest day of the week for restaurants). Saturdays will see a 7:00 a.m. start to accommodate Weston Farmers Market patrons.

On May 4th, there will be no fanfare or official opening ceremony (that may come later). Just the Kalamaris family continuing the tradition of serving good food in a friendly atmosphere.

Nunziata being held to ‘ransom’

Perhaps someone forgot to renew Councillor Frances Nunziata’s domain name FrancesNunziata.com or the councillor has simply decided to let it lapse. WestonWeb (as usual) saw this tragedy coming weeks ago and Adam warned Ms. Nunziata of the domain’s impending demise but sadly, the warning went unheeded. Now it has been released into the wild and recaptured by some helpful cybersquatters who will sell it back for ‘only’ $1895 U.S.

Hopefully some civic minded people can start a crowdfunding campaign to return the site to its rightful owner. Failing that, FrancesNunziata.net is available for the paltry sum of $9.99

UP Express opens June 6.

With great fanfare, Premier Wynne today rode the UP Express from Union Station through to Terminal 1 at Pearson Airport. The Premier, pronouncing the much discussed train as the ‘up express’ (rather than U.P.), stated that this is the beginning of a new era in infrastructure investments. She also suggested that public transport becomes widely used if it is a more convenient way to move from one place to another than driving. No doubt many people will sample the new service for the first time out of curiosity but whether the train is viable in the long term is a highly contentious point. Time will tell if our new transit link will be more convenient for Torontonians, airport workers and tourists (and therefore successful) or if it will end up as a commuter rail line with additional stops along the way.

The Premier also referred to the doubling of GO train service by 2020 which is part of a $16 Billion Liberal infrastructure spend designed to get people out of their cars and onto public transit. Metrolinx President, Bruce McCuaig claimed that in its first year, the UP Express will result in 1.6 million fewer car trips. Former federal Transport Minister David Collenette who got the ball rolling back in 2000 tagged along for the ride. Sadly, there was no invite for WestonWeb to sample the new line.

In its early inception, the train was called Blue 22 and tragically, with the addition of a stop in Weston and three minutes of extra travelling time, nobody in the government could come up with a brief rhyming couplet that ended in twenty-five; hence UP Express. As readers are aware, the stop in Weston was a testament to the political clout of residents who forced the government to offset the negative repercussions of about 150 extra trains through Weston every day. Hence we ended up with a stop along the route, new respect from politicians and a beginning to the end of the decline of Weston.

Arrive in 25.

Don’t Drive – Arrive in 25™

Let’s hope that the same fighting spirit hasn’t left the station as there are fresh battles coming (more on that later).

For extra credit, here is an article that extolls the merits of vastly expanding our current (slow and very tentative) link to Kitchener (Incidentally, there is considerable interest among Kitchener residents, some of whom would like to change at Weston onto the UP Express).

Perfect Blend Official Opening

On Saturday March 28, there was a packed house inside Weston’s newest and long anticipated coffee shop and bakery. Perfect Blend had its official opening and Weston’s politicians were there in force to mark the occasion.

A packed house enjoys Perfect Blend's offerings.

A packed house enjoys Perfect Blend’s offerings.

MPP Laura Albanese and Councillor Frances Nunziata.

MPP Laura Albanese (L)  and Councillor Frances Nunziata.

During her speech to the crowd, Councillor Frances Nunziata thanked George Kalamaris  stressed that things are looking up for Weston. As evidence, she named the new medical centre opening up in the old Post Office Building that she claimed will bring ‘thousands of people into Weston’ as well as the new P&M restaurant opening soon. The councillor referred to Weston as being a vibrant community. MP Mike Sullivan stated that people in Weston have been waiting for a good coffee shop for a long time. ‘They were begging for some of the chains to come here but we did better than that with this opening by a local person.’ Sullivan stated he is trying to get Perfect Blend, ‘Connected to the GO Station too so that when the GO Station has its own little coffee shop, then it’s these folks that are supplying it’. Sullivan stressed the importance of supporting local businesses.

Laura Albanese stated that, ‘Small businesses are the heart of every community’ and that Weston is no exception.

Mike McDonald representing the Weston Ratepayers’ and Residents’ Association said, ‘We have needed this and wanted this for a long long time.’ His six-year-old son declared that his Perfect Blend bagel was the best he’d ever had.

Mike Sullivan, Laura Albanese and Frances Nunziata congratulate George Kalamaris at the official opening of Perfect Blend Bakery.

Mike Sullivan, Laura Albanese and Frances Nunziata congratulate George Kalamaris at the official opening of Perfect Blend Bakery.

Owner George Kalamaris thanked everyone in the community for coming out and stated that opening Perfect Blend was a dream come true for him. He and his father Costas have been part of the build ‘from the ground up’ at his location as well as across the road at the new P&Ms. George recalled when his grandfather opened P&Ms many years ago and said that 40 years later, his family is part of the community and proud of the contributions they have made in Weston. Perfect Blend has a core of regulars already, after only three weeks. George personally thanked his father Costas for all his hard work and support, ‘Without him, none of this would have been possible. Without him, Perfect Blend wouldn’t be perfect.’

The ribbon cutting ceremony.

The ribbon cutting ceremony (apologies to George the actual ribbon cutter).

Look for Perfect Blend’s Facebook page coming soon. Perfect Blend is an easy walk for most Westonians; and as the old expression goes, use it or lose it.

In Touch operator sent to jail

Elaine Lindo, the operator of the scandalous In Touch retirement home at the corner of Rosemount and King has been sentenced to 15 days in jail for “repeatedly flouting orders”.

In deciding on incarceration for Elaine Lindo, owner-operator of In Touch Retirement, Justice of the Peace Mindy Avrich-Skapinker noted Lindo had already been fined $10,000 by the Retirement Homes Regulatory Authority, which had no effect. Lindo is appealing that “administrative fine,” and has kept on operating as a retirement home, the court heard.

In Touch abused and neglected elderly clients.

Thanks to S for the tip.

Mulcair lends an ear.

Mike Sullivan, Asha Ahmed, Tom Mulcair.

M.P. Mike Sullivan, Wiff owner Asha Ahmed, Opposition Leader Tom Mulcair.

MP Mike Sullivan and Federal Opposition Leader, Tom Mulcair hosted a small business round table on Wednesday, February 11th, inside Wiff Restaurant, a Somali fusion eatery on Weston Road.

According to Mulcair, small and medium sized businesses are responsible for 80% of new jobs in Canada, hence his election year push into Weston to gauge the mood of Weston’s entrepreneurial community. He acknowledged that these are very tight times for small businesses in the GTA.

Mulcair is promising to lower the small and medium business tax rate from 11% to 9%, along with an accelerated capital cost allowance. He claimed that the Conservatives have reduced the tax burden for large businesses to the tune of $15 billion. ‘The rich are getting richer and the poor getting poorer’, he declared.

A wide variety of enterprises were represented included brewing, urban farming, book selling, money transfer, dry cleaners, chartered accountancy and store-front businesses. The common thread of comments seemed to be how hard it is to operate a business here in York South-Weston, especially when such difficulties are compounded by rampant obstructionism from all three levels of government. There seems to be a perception of super efficiency when it comes to enforcement of rules and assessment of taxes combined with a reluctance to provide any service in return. Another business owner bristled against what seems to be a fixed Federal Government procuring process. Mention was made of store owners unable to afford fuel so they operate in cold buildings.

Mulcair promised to look into the big banks’ refusal to work with companies that send remittance monies overseas. Only one bank deals with remittance companies but apparently charges outrageous rates.

Many business owners expressed the concern that until they make a profit, they won’t be paying any business income tax. I heard afterwards that one city inspector is presently making things difficult for at least two Weston businesses while others endure irritants such as excessive development charges and bloody-minded nit-picking. The entrepreneurs seemed to agree that more is needed to help businesses thrive along with less red tape and a reduction in municipal and provincial taxation.

Federal business tax reductions won’t help struggling businesses. Nine percent of zero is still zero.

Oh yes, citizens of Weston we can help: if you want a vibrant walkable shopping district, support local businesses. Buy Local.