P&M: Ready for the Move.

Frank Kalamaris and his family run a well known and very successful restaurant right in the heart of Weston. P&M has been serving Westonians since Frank’s father George opened for business on April 15, 1975.

Every day is busy but empty seats are especially hard to find during the lunch rush with only 24 chairs crammed into the tiny dining room.

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Up to four people jockey for position behind the 18 foot kitchen / serving area. Instructions are passed back and forth in English with the occasional few words of Greek mixed in. From this tiny work area, customers are served generous portions of delicious food. Wider at the front, narrowing to barely 7 feet wide at the back where the dishes are washed, the atmosphere is one of respectful friendship and regular customers are known by name.

Frank recalls arriving in Weston when it was at the height of its popularity with people flocking to its shopping district from miles around. ‘In 1975 There was a Canadian Tire across the street, a Kresge’s department store, a Loblaws supermarket, jewellers, shoe stores, gentleman’s and ladies’ clothing stores.’

Nowadays Weston is a lot different but Frank is so sure that things are turning around, he has invested $1.2M in a new location just a few yards south at 1946 Weston Road. Until recently, this was the home of the Central Bar and Grill which had in its latter years fallen into disrepair and had a dubious clientele. Frank has done a total inside and out renovation of the building and it is now unrecognizable.

The key to Frank’s success is quite simple, ‘You have to respect the customer’ he says in his trademarked gravelly voice. ‘They don’t want to be a number, like in the franchised restaurants, they want recognition and respect and to do that we treat them like friends and family’ To Frank, it’s not about the money. ‘Lots of business people come to Weston to take money out; they invest nothing and end up lowering the quality and driving away business. Success means doing what you have to do to get customers to return regularly’, and in that Frank has succeeded wildly. With plans to continue serving top quality food cooked to order; (things like fresh cut French fries, Black Angus triple A beef), he’s now planning to make the numbers of his extended family of customers bigger; a lot bigger. With the extra room and a gigantic open-concept kitchen he can seat more friends and serve a bigger variety of dishes.

Frank plans to supplement the regular fare with more international dishes and weekly specials. For those with a sweet tooth, there will be a dessert station with a full dessert menu. The new restaurant will be licensed (currently under application); a service bar will be there for staff.

Frank gave WestonWeb an exclusive preview of the renovated premises and even in an unfinished state, the new P&M’s is very impressive. Attention to detail and top of the line decor, furnishings and equipment will set this restaurant apart in Weston.

Frank stands behind the new bar.
Frank stands behind his new bar.
The left-half of the restaurant.
The left-half of the restaurant with the dessert station at the back.
Butcher block tables and ceramic decor.
Butcher block tables and ceramic decor.
The dessert station.
The dessert station.
Top of the line equipment in the new kitchen.
Top of the line equipment is being installed in the new kitchen.
Food preparation and storage area in the basement.
A huge food preparation and storage area is being set up in the basement.
The new premises under wraps.
The new premises at 1946 Weston Road still under wraps.

Frank doesn’t  know exactly when the new P&M Restaurant will open as there are a few finishing touches to be made and inspections to be completed. The Fire Department will need to calculate his seating capacity, but no doubt when the date is announced, many will flock to the new location. ‘I may need to have several opening days’, joked Frank, ‘But I would like to have Councillor Nunziata there; she has been very helpful in dealing with the City’.

Nunziata’s War of 1812

As WestonWeb has mentioned in previous articles, Frances Nunziata is our vocal and dynamic councillor. She has been involved politically for decades and overall her contribution has been outstanding. Years of opposition made her an outspoken maverick ready to fight for her constituents.

One of the problems apparent in the Weston community is the illegal use of premises to hold large parties to which admission is charged. Parties go long into the night and attract some dangerous individuals. These unlicensed premises are a threat to safety and because their whereabouts are unknown, often in basements and side-alleys, they are hard to detect and shut down. When establishments are licensed, police officers and inspectors can enforce operating hours, room capacities and reasonable levels of noise.

Femi’s Place, an existing restaurant at 1812 Weston Road has applied for a licence to serve alcohol. For some reason, Ms. Nunziata recently steered through this emergency council decision to block the application. In her motion, Ms Nunziata claims that ‘Residents of Weston Village, within which this establishment is located, are already troubled by the number of licenced establishments in the area which frequently violate the conditions of their liquor licences but still remain in operation.’

As a result of complaints she sent inspectors to visit the restaurant, but they found that the restaurant was serving alcohol legally and without problems (the restaurant had applied for and obtained special permits). There was no evidence of wrongdoing other than hearsay.

There are few licensed establishments in the immediate area south of Lawrence. There is one nearby at 1828 Weston, Michelle’s Place, whose owner claims that they have never had problems.

In Ms. Nunziata’s zeal to clean up Weston, she may have forgotten that a nuanced approach is best rather than ‘Kitty bar the door’. Successful businesses and neighbourhoods have to start somewhere. Legal businesses pay taxes, enrich the local community and are subject to inspection and control.

The statement by Ms Nunziata that there are Weston establishments frequently in violation of their licenses implies that we are being failed by the inspection and enforcement process. Perhaps this is where she should focus rather than victimizing fledgling businesses.