Fish and chips shop closing after 64 years

October marks the end for Mt. Pleasant Road family-run restaurant

The pending retirement of owners Dave and Rosemary Johnston spells the end of the line for Penrose Fish and Chips on Mt. Pleasant Road, which is closing in October after 64 years.

“I’m going to miss customers, I’m going to miss my staff and I’m going to miss being part of the street,” second-generation owner Dave Johnston said from a booth at the back of the restaurant.

The neighbourhood fixture dates back to 1950, when Johnston’s parents, Roly and Marion, opened the fish shop after relocating to Toronto from New Brunswick.

“My father was a tank driver in WWII and when he was overseas in England fish and chip shops in London were very busy, and he thought that might be a really good idea back in Canada,” he recalled. “My mother worked here through her 90s.”

Johnston has worked there for 40 years. Rosemary, known for her pies and fish chowder, joined the business 25 years ago. It is now managed by daughter Katie, who has been on site for the past decade.
Johnston said they plan on closing up shop the week of Oct. 5–10, or whenever they run out of supplies.

“I guess it is health related,” he said. “My knee is wearing out, my shoulder is sort of shot. It’s been a long 40 years.”

Over the years the restaurant has been praised by the likes of Barbra Streisand, who mentioned the restaurant on stage once during a tour date in Toronto, and frequented by celebrities such as Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Although his future plans are uncertain, Johnston said it will likely involve sailing and being involved in the community.

A silent auction, with proceeds going to charity, is in the works for the pieces of décor and photographs that have adorned the walls for decades.

Since word of the pending closure spread in early September, Rosemary said they’ve received many phone calls, in-store visits and social media messages from customers.

“We’re just so thankful that we’ve had this connection with the community and with our customers, and that we’ve been here for 64 years,” she said. “It’s a bittersweet thing.”

Go fish

Wondering where to get fish and chips now that Penrose Fish and Chips is closing?

Options close to home include Olde York Fish and Chips at 96 Laird Dr., Fish St. Market and Open Kitchen at 2584 Yonge St. and Off The Hook at 749 Broadview Ave.

About this article:

Posted: Sep 11 2014 12:26 pm
Filed in: Business  NEWS
Edition: Toronto