Beloved Mile End Russian-style yeast-based doughnut store Chez Boris will be closing in a matter of weeks, just short of five years after it opened. Owner Boris Volfson made the announcement in a lengthy post late Wednesday night on the cafe’s Facebook page.
In short, the landlord is not renewing the lease (sound familiar?), meaning bye, bye Boris, despite no apparent issues doing business. Volfson explains that he had attempted to find a business partner to help relocate Chez Boris but despite serious interest, nobody has come forward. Volfson lives primarily with his partner in Baltimore at the moment, meaning that he’s unable to execute such a move solo from hundreds of kilometres away. Perhaps as a little bit of a “screw you” to the landlord, Volfson also highlights the business’ high profit margins in the closing announcement (also dispelling any suggestion that Boris is simply going out of business).
The cafe was (and still is) notable for a variety of reasons — deliciously cheap bite-sized, chocolate, citrus, or cinnamon-sprinkled Russian doughnuts, as well as for introducing the beignewich — a slightly excessive sandwich-adjacent foodstuff consisting of sandwich fillings between two non-sweet hunks of fried dough (unfortunately, Boris no longer sells them).
Best of all, Volfson paid employees something resembling a living wage, which he pointed out meant he had plenty of loyalty from his staff, and very little turnover. Boris’ staff are such fans that there is talk of rebooting it as a co-op operation selling doughnuts, coffee, preserves, and more — although it would operate under a different name. Interested parties can check out their amusingly titled Facebook group, Check Beigne Ça.
If you’re looking to get one last fix of doughnuts, coffee, or pierogies, Chez Boris will close sometime in late April.