Yet another Mile End small business has shut down — fish and chip counter Comptoir 21 recently vacated its premises, a month after it closed temporarily due to coronavirus.
While the closure wasn’t publicized by Comptoir 21, it was noted on social media over the last week — a moving van was spotted removing furniture and equipment from the restaurant, located on St-Viateur between Clark and St-Laurent.
It’s another loss for the rapidly-changing stretch of St-Viateur Street between St-Laurent and Parc. While Comptoir 21 wasn’t a long-time business on the strip (it opened in 2010), its cozy diner-style interior and reasonable prices helped it find a niche in the neighbourhood. It lives on elsewhere in the city — the Comptoir 21 location in Verdun is still in business (although temporarily closed to COVID-19), while the location on Gilford Street in the Plateau is in a grey area — it was meant to reopen from a brief hiatus in March, but that has not yet happened.
While it was suggested that Comptoir 21 closed down due to a rent hike, Eater has not confirmed this with the restaurant owners.
If its closure is due to a rent issue, this would hardly be the first such instance on St-Viateur — in the last few years that fate has befallen mainstays like coffee shop Le Cagibi, Pâtisserie De Gaulle, and Boulangerie Clarke. The blame for those closures mostly fell at the feet of real estate firm Shiller Lavy; in the case of Le Cagibi, the rent hikes were imposed by the son of a Shiller Lavy owner who owned the building separately, although the building has since been transferred to Shiller Lavy’s ownership. However, Shiller Lavy does not own the space that Comptoir 21 occupied.
Even without rent hikes, there have also been numerous other businesses vanishing from the area — just on the same block, Sushi Jinjin and dépanneur Dary both closed in the last eight months, and one block north on Bernard Street, a similar situation seems to have unfolded, with numerous vacant commercial properties surfacing in recent years.