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Deathwatch

34 Comments

The third Le Gourmand closes its doors

The third incarnation of popular café-cum-restaurant chain Le Gourmand (affectionately known as LG3) has unexpectedly closed due to evasion of rent, according to a notice in its window. “The Yonge and Eglinton location didn’t work out for various reasons,” owner Milton Nunes tells us. “The area wasn’t ready for it. Everyone in the building just bought half-a-million-dollar condos, so they can’t afford to come buy their $3 coffees in the morning.” Fans of the bistro’s baked goods and pastries (a number of Chowhounders agree that Le Gourmand provides standout cookies) can rest assured that the two other locations are doing fine—“stronger than ever,” according to Nunes—and that “within the next year, you’ll see more Le Gourmands opening up.”

  • Christine

    It’s not the neighbourhood, it’s Le Gourmand’s inconsistent and spotty service. While their gourmet sandwiches are delicious, they are not worth a waitress that takes half an hour to drop it by your table. I live in the neighbourhood and tried going here on numerous occasions. Hopefully they will learn something from this!

  • M

    He says, “…people bought “half-a-million-dollar condos, so they can’t afford to come buy their $3 coffees in the morning.” Maybe, but that hasn’t stopped all the people I see going in and out of the Starbucks right across from them…

    I’ll miss their pastries and food, but I have got to agree with Christine about the inconsistent and spotty service.

  • P

    I’m a regular at LG2 (Yonge/Bloor) and can only say good things about it. The service is good and the cookies are indeed some of the best in the city.

    The regular-brew coffee (Black Gold!) is cheaper than Starbucks – and tastes MUCH better, as well. The $3 coffee mentioned above is the specialty coffee (lattes, cappucinos, etc).

    LG3 suffered due stiff competition from Starbucks, Tim Horton’s and The Keg – all located next door.

  • Gabby

    Quel dommage!

    I’ve been to the other Le Gourmand’s many times & really enjoy them. I was excited when this one opened in my neighbourhood, but the poor service stopped me from going back.

    I agree, their coffee & cookies are great.

  • Bob Loblaw

    Buddy can say that the residents didnt have money, but I worked across the street and stopped going because of the chronic disorg. I’m now closer to the one at Y/B, and think the staff there varies from clued out, to stoned to just rude. It is only the lack of other decent outlets at Y/B that keeps me going back.

  • S

    I live in those condos and it’s very sad that they closed. Their coffee is cheaper than SBucks and waaaay better (try the Americano).

    Milton, you’re sooooo wrong. The problem wasn’t the coffee, and I certainly don’t think the residents were cheap. It was that you ran a full-service restaurant and didn’t tell anyone. If you walked by it you would just think it’s a coffee shop; nobody in the city really knew the difference between LG3 and the other locations. Nobody in this thread or the article said anything about the fact that LG3 had a gourmet full dinner service. The next time maybe you should try some proper marketing and maybe try to understand your customers. It might work better than insulting us by calling us cheap.

  • Naomi

    It is not a surprise that they closed in a neighbourhood with so many lunch options – with the lack of service, there were other places to go. You always had to keep an eye on your order because chaos reigned behind the counter – either they didn’t remember what you ordered, sold it to someone else or put it on a plate when it was ordered to go. Staff were either in the way and unhelpful or had major attitude. There is no excuse for making customers stand in line for 15 minutes for a ready-made sandwich or rolling your eyes when a customer asks to pay with a debit card. This closure was due to poor management and lack of customer service, not clientele.

  • Number 9

    They closed because service was abismal. Loved the food but left several times because I couldn’t wait any longer to pay for sandwhich was sitting at cash!

    The staff didn’t have a clue how to run or work in this restaurant….

  • Coffee geek

    It’s a shame that Mr. Nunes blames customers for his restaurant’s closing. The format of the restaurant was to redesign itself several times a day – breakfast cafe, quick lunch, dinner takeout, high end (then midrange) dinner, late evening bar. Confusing, and who knew! And yes the service was a big problem.

    As for the condo dwellers’ willingness to buy coffee in the morning – what an insult. I am one of those condo dwellers, and have been making my own lattes on a high quality machine for longer than Mr. Nunes has been in business. Why would I go out for it? And even if I wasn’t a fanatic, I would find it economically irrational to subsidize his business every day (or Starbucks’ next door). Besides, the vaunted LG3 coffee was made in a fully automatic machine (push a button and it comes out measured). This is espresso for dummies and untrusted staff, not the technology for a barista who has creative control.

    As an occasional customer of le Gourmand’s other locations (where they have, at least on Spadina, a real espresso machine), I was excited when the cafe opened. With this comment, Mr. Nunes will make me think twice about going back to those places.

  • Arti

    When I heard that LG3 had closed I was really sad – I loved their brunches and chocolate bombs. But after reading this article and being called cheap because as a resident I didn’t go buy his coffee everyday, I’m no longer upset.
    Instead of calling us cheap, Mr Nunes should do some introspection on what really went wrong. While the staff were sweet, they were incompetent and slow. The dinners were hit or miss.
    We went in one afternoon to ask about catering for 50 people and after a 10 minute wait were told to come back in the morning when a manager was around. Usually when I go to a restaurant and say ‘food for 50 people’ – I’m assured of a better and more enthusiastic reaction than that. LG3, your chocolate bombs will be missed but your attitude won’t.

  • smAsh

    I frequent the Spadina location and the service is great, but the systems sometimes are frustrating to new people. I wonder if this may have played a role. For example, at the Spadina location there is a big sign above the cash that says ‘Order Here’. In the morning, you don’t order there at all. But sometimes you do. On weekends its a crapshoot. They just need to get some consistent and predictable processes to build new clientele. Good food, poor business practices.

  • jojo

    Oh well, I did like the food, and got lucky with the service there, but I do agreed that this restaurant may be lack of marketing and service consistency. I think if u live in the neighhood, u do want to live a little, and the $3 for a coffee is an affordable luxury, otherwise, one would not choose this neighbourhood? Mr. Nunes may need some PR training. The way he said it- its like you bought a Rolls-Royce and could not afford the valet parking, but I am sure he is better than portraite here, good luck in the next location. I would come back as everyone deserve a second chance.

  • kevin phillips bong

    This a.m. the Y/B location was completely out of coffee cups.

    Perhaps Mr Nunes could address this little glitch

  • gillian

    Two weeks ago I ordered a salad and there was no lettuce. There are four grocery stores within a five minute walk which I am certain carry lettuce I took someone for breakfast and was told there was no bread to make french toast. I ordered coffee to go and they had run out of lids which I was told after I paid for the coffee…..and people wonder why they closed!

  • Miriam Ottawa

    Wow,
    service sounds very bad there.
    I remember going to a restaurant in ottawa and ordering a soup to go and they did not have any bowls..but this was not a take out place and not really an item you should get to go (was a tortilla chicken soup).
    This restaurant I went to, the server actually went to a bagel shop nearby to ask for a soup container for me!
    He should take notes from that place.

  • me

    The service was terrible. Each time I placed an order (either for table service or takeout) there was an issue.

    I got fed up with the service and decided to go elsewhere for brunch – where the service was good. At Yonge and Eg., there are plenty of options for great food and great service

    The neighborhood was not ready? Perhaps the neighborhood was not ready to accept shoddy service.

  • Jennie B.

    The last time I went to LG3 @ Yonge and Eglinton, I was with 3 other adults and a toddler for Sunday brunch. The service never came with a smile, nor did anything arrive in a timely fashion. Cutlery had to be asked for. It was terrible. I live in the area and have no problem spending my hard earned cash on food because I love food and consider it my once vice and necessity. Milton Nunes needs to smell his own coffee and hire wait staff that he can competently train in order maintain business because the food WAS good.

  • P@MELA Capraru

    I used to frequent the Spadina location. While the soups, salads, and baked goods were delicious, non pareil, service was spotty, slow, and at times non-existent. My short coffee breaks from work turned into half-hour ordeals of pointless frustration, exacerbated by lost orders and the staff’s incompetence with debit machines. I imagine that the other two locations suffered from the same inefficiencies. So sad. I miss the nookie cookies and poached salmon sandwiches but won’t go out of my way to stand in line for poor service. At any restaurant, LG take note, It doesn’t matter how good the food is if the staff can’t deliver it in short order, especially during peak times. Even when I arrived before noon to beat the lunch crowd, waits were interminable.

  • ccaps

    I reside in the building, & frequented LG3 every morning for coffee during the week & had brunch every other weekend. Counter service was sometimes slow, but I found them friendly. It was incredibly sad to see them shut down, but the restaurant lacked a presence — you could pass by it in a blink of an eye & not realize the restaurant was even there. As for Mr. Nunes’s remark about how new unit owners were not financially able to afford his establishment, I don’t quite understand his business approach… when you open a restaurant in a saturated market like Toronto, shouldn’t your scope of clientele extend beyond that of the residents in the building??? To sustain a profitable business, LG3 should’ve been trying to attract people to come to the restaurant, rather than settling on its residents as clients. People in this city are willing to travel great distances for a fantastic dining experience — at LG3, the food was good, but based on the posts listed the service was bad enough to turn people away. Hopefully they will learn … & hopefully they will pay their rent!

  • TRUEcostumer

    Mr . Milton has full blame for this bizarre business that he runs,…the service was sub par and Mr milton was there during the day and night,….nasty costumer service,..Mr Milton is time that you come clean and leave the restaurant industry,,,.and do all of us a favour,..pay all the bills that at this moment are outstanding in the 10′s of thousands of dollars,..

  • Montrealer In Toronto

    As a Montrealer living in Toronto, I am so happy to see, by these posted comments, that some other people in this city actually care about good food and service. LeGourmand is the perfect example of why people laugh at Toronto’s food scene. Restaurant owners just can’t seem to get it right here; it’s pathetic. Some restaurants will get the concept right or the service right and very rarely, they will get the food right (which LG3 did, but long term success depends on a restauranteur’s ability to consistently get it ALL right (it’s actually not that hard). With SOOO many bad restaurants in this city,a good business person would recognize that the prize for getting it right is huge! Mr Nunes is not only a bad restauranteur, bad a bad business person and will never experience long term success no matter what the venture or where the location. The real losers in all of this are us citizens of Toronto who are forced to overpay for metiocre food (at best). This city needs even more Montrealers … problem is, they won’t come here because of the food…

  • bob loblaw

    Re Montrealer

    Uh huh. If anyone would know about bad and rude service, it would be someone who had escaped from Montreal.

  • Martin

    I live a block from the former LG3. The poor service and poor attitude was the reason why I only visited twice. Hopefully someone will learn from these comments.

  • Milton

    Hello everyone,
    I would like to apologize for the comment, I assure you that I do not believe that the customer base at Yonge and Eglinton is cheap. I was caught off guard when the interviewer called and did not mean to offend anyone.
    the restaurant was actually doing quite well but unfortunately the rent was way too high and we were never able to get the sales high enough to make it work. We tried to restructure a deal with the landlord for months but were not able to do so. We were led to believe that we would get the lease restructured and 6 months later we were still being tied up in negotiations. Unfortunately we couldn’t afford to keep losing money and we were forced to close. The entire staff was aware of what was happening and it was obvious that our moral was down.
    I apologize for anyone who was upset in the process. We do take pride in our food and hopefully we will continue to do what we love.

    Sincerely,
    Milton Nunes

  • Matt

    “Stronger than ever”???? Within the past week the HBC and Spadina locations both closed because of rent issues. What’s the deal???

    Toronto Life, we need James Chatto to do an expose!

  • joan

    sure will miss those cookies. The best ever..

  • Ed

    Make the cookies and sell them through another store. Just tell us where they are on sale.

  • Shannon

    Apparently the other locations aren’t doing well enough… the Spadina and Richmond location was just locked out of their restaurant due to back rent owed to the tune of $25,000+… I will miss their organic bagels and cream cheese the most! Their mac & cheese is good sometimes, but I find it too peppery…

  • DTLifer

    The Yonge and Eg location put it in the red BIG TIME. Even though the other two locations were doing well, it wasn’t enough to cover the serious debt the Eglinton shoppe created.

    Allegedly, the staff have not been paid their final pay, nor did they get vacation pay, and the owner is a no-show.

  • Hayden

    Can we switch this to life watch now? I just noticed this picture http://bit.ly/9IWGSf in the window of the Spadina and Richmond store. Also, all the stuff that was in boxes has been taken out.

  • Charles

    I (used to) go to the Spadina location. They’ve undergone at least one change in management, but the terrible service has been remarkably consistent, so they’re obviously working at it. They’ve got two cash registers from which they can dish attitude. Lineups always result in total chaos. And let’s be clear: this isn’t jolly, friendly neighborhood chaos. It’s bitchy, stressed-out chaos. No planning, no system. Once you’ve ordered, you just mill around and maybe someone will bring your food to the counter at some point. If you and someone else happened to have ordered the same thing? Total mayhem. It’s like they never thought that might happen. Genius.

    And you can be sure they’ll blame *you* for the confusion, and some 21 year old hipster coffee server will give you a withering look. Which only makes sense because, after all, he’s a super cool dude and you are, um, just a stupid customer who’s ruining his day with your constant demands for coffee and food.

    Yeah, the cookies are good. But no cookie is worth all that. Not any more. Seriously. Good luck, fellas.

  • Staffer

    Hi Charles,
    it is disappointing to hear that certain staff don’t understand the importance and value of customer service. I can assure you that the person you are referring to will never serve another one of our customers again.

    It has always been our intent to serve our customers in a timely manner with all the respect you deserve. We hope that you return and don’t hold one persons poor attitude towards the rest of the team. Our sincerest apologies and we hope to see you again.

  • Pingback: Coming soon to King West: Portland Variety, a new bakery, café, restaurant and tapas bar from Le Gourmand’s Milton Nunes - torontolife.com

  • Pingback: Coming soon to King West: Portland Variety, a new bakery, café, restaurant and tapas bar from Le Gourmand’s Milton Nunes | Buzz of Toronto

 

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