After 37 years in Toronto, Southern Accent has closed, and the spot’s founder and co-owner Frances Wood cites COVID-19 as the reason.
The eatery had survived and thrived on Markham street for 34 years, and had moved to the intersection of College and Ossington in 2017, making space for the Honest Ed’s Redevelopment in Mirvish Village.
“It is a sad day for us,” Wood said in a public letter.
“COVID-19 has forced our hand. We are closing our doors and saying goodbye to all the wonderful customers we’ve gotten to know and love over the last thirty-seven years.”
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Wood, alongside chef and co-owner Thessavan Maniceavasakan, is extending thanks to both staff and customers for the years of memories.
“There were many precious moments over the years. Parties, weddings, celebrity sightings, and even a marriage proposal or two. Too many good times and wonderful memories to mention here, but a few stand out,” reads the letter.
Wood said one of the restaurant’s most memorable nights was the wrap party for the late Maya Angelou’s film “Down in the Delta,” but other special memories linger too.
“Our restaurant provided support to the Hurricane Katrina Disaster in New Orleans. We sent a dollar from every dinner sold, plus we flew Chef Troy Brocato to Toronto for a fundraiser.”
In its time, Southern Accent published two cookbooks, developed blends for Blackening, Bronzing and “Cajun” Jerk spices, and created three renowned hot sauces: the Lime Piquant Hot Sauce; Hurricane — a mango-based sauce for the Katrina fundraiser — and the Hot as Hell.
While the doors close for now, Wood expressed hope that someday, someone else may feel called to revive the spot for another round.
“Who knows, someday there may be a rebirth of Southern Accent with the bar in tow and someone else at the helm,” said Wood. “If so, we’ll be there to help if called upon.”