Spotlight on Fran's Restaurant!
Toronto is home to a multitude of restaurants and diners, many popping up over night and others being replaced by new ventures daily. But only a handful of spots have withstood the test of time similar to Fran’s Restaurant, offering delicious eats 24 hours a days.
One of Toronto’s oldest and most popular franchise restaurants, Fran’s, has unfortunately been forced to shut down one of their locations due to the ongoing pandemic and lack of dine in customers.
Buffalo native, Francis (Fran) Deck, relocated to Toronto in 1940 bringing his vast experience in the restaurant industry. For 80 years, and counting, Fran’s Restaurant has been serving up sandwiches, steaks & burgers 24 hours a day, providing homestyle fare for diners craving delicious eats at great deals.
Opening the first location with his wife, Ellen Jane, at 21 St. Clair West, near Yonge St., Fran’s quickly amassed a huge reputation for its chili, bottom-less cups of coffee and over-sized breakfasts.
The diner also became a haunt for the celebrated Canadian classical pianist, Glenn Gould. Residing in his apartment only a block away, Gould would frequent Fran’s every morning for coffee and scrambled eggs.
The diner expanded to a small chain of restaurants. The most popular location being the College Street spot given its proximity to Maple Leaf Gardens (MLG). Before, and after, hockey fans caught the Leaf’s game at MLG they would pay a visit to the diner and eventually becoming loyal customers for years to come. This location remains open today along with the one at Victoria and Shuter Streets.
After Fran’s passing in 1976 the restaurants were continued by his family until the 90’s when the company was sold to a group of investors. The intent was to expand the chain through and out of the Greater Toronto Area. After purchasing the College St. Location in 1997, independent restaurateur Joon Kim, and his sons, went on to purchase the entire Fran’s Restaurant Company outright the following year. Once again, establishing, to this day, Fran’s as a family owned and operated business.
In 2014 Fran’s opened a booth at the CNE food building for the first time featuring exclusive eats developed for the fair, which include the peanut butter Sriracha balls and pie shakes! Not immune to the COVID pandemic, one of the final three locations was shuttered at the end of 2020. Leaving the final two locations that remain open to this day both residing in the Downtown Yonge area, Yonge & College St. and Victoria and Shuter St, offering curbside pickup and delivery of all your favourite meals.
Businesses in our community need our support now more than ever. Order takeout and delivery from a location near you and lets all do our part to #RestoreTheCore and #ShopLocal
Here's a photo of the Yonge and Eglinton location (1945 - 2001)
An old flyer for one of the most popular options on the original menu.
The Yonge - St. Clair location that recently shutdown.
Here is an original Fran’s menu from the early days of the restaurant.