Milestone for The Longest Yard

Twenty-five years for Mt. Pleasant restaurant

Taking its name from the 1974 film starring Burt Reynolds and a 17th-century yard of ale drinking glass, The Longest Yard restaurant and bar was opened by Debra DeMonte 25 years ago.

“I wanted to run my own business and felt the community needed a restaurant where families, business people, sports teams and others could come together to enjoy fresh affordable food and beverages in a communal setting,” she says. “There was nothing like The Yard in 1987.”

DeMonte, who later opened a second location on Bloor Street W., has seen over 20 restaurants come and go in the area over the years and credits their longevity to consistency in food, service and affordability as well as being actively involved in the community.

In addition to promoting culinary, political and sporting events, they’ve also raised more than $500,000 for local charities to date, she says.

In honour of its namesakes, the Mt. Pleasant Road restaurant is also home to a three-pint longest yard glass, as well as to lobby posters from the original movie and autographed pictures of Reynolds, who used to come by when he was in town, she says.

Reflecting on her career, getting to know her customers and being able to take part in their celebrations has been a highlight, she says. One of her first patrons was a pregnant woman whose daughter proceeded to work as a server at the bar throughout university and now comes in with her own family.

“It’s great to see the community grow,” she says. “Particularly little children become customers as young men and women and then as parents bringing their own kids.”

About this article:

By: Ann Ruppenstein
Posted: Jun 14 2012 5:16 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto