The last Murrays restaurant (or Eatery) as the Gazette puts it,.is set to close up shop. I know many of our members Remember Murray's and some of them worked in them ( My Mother did too,when she was young) Here's the story from the Gazette today:
In its heyday, there were Murray's restaurants in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto packing in diners, happy to chow down on meatloaf, Jell-O and other comfort foods.
But yesterday the hand-written sign in the window of the last remaining Murray's restaurant, in the Lucerne Shopping Centre in Town of Mount Royal, seemed to indicate the end may be near for the chain, which got its start in 1923.
It read: "Closed for renovations and maintenance."
Since the Murray's restaurant on Sherbrooke St. W. in Westmount closed in 1999, the Murray's eatery in the unassuming T.M.R. strip mall has been the last one standing in the city.
Now, Mounir Yassa, the owner of the T.M.R. Murray's, said he can't carry on and he may have to close, too.
Since 2007, when he bought the restaurant from brothers Peter and Shrief Nasr, Yassa said, he has lost more than $150,000 - an average of between $8,000 and $12,000 a month.
"I know the story," Yassa said. "I've tried to keep it going for these reasons, but I can't put anything more into it."
Yassa, who operated the restaurant with his wife, Alyce, and daughter Sylvia, said he is in negotiations with a potential buyer, "someone who wants to buy it and change everything inside."
"I should know by Friday," Yassa said.
But even with a new buyer, there may be another hitch that could stand in the way and yet spell the end of the Murray's franchise.
In 2007, the strip mall was purchased with another building and lot in the area by First Capital Holdings Corp. for $16.5 million.
Margo Schieke, a mall administrator, said the present restaurant owner has a seven-year lease with First Capital, but it may not be transferrable.
"It's sad," said Robert Maroun, owner of Mes Yeux, Tes Yeux, an optometrist in the Lucerne Shopping Mall.
Over the years, Maroun said, he has marvelled at Murray's loyal customers, people like Madeleine Boosamra, a T.M.R. nonagenarian who until recently ate three times a day at the restaurant.
"Every breakfast, every lunch, every dinner, she was there," Maroun said. "When I think of Murray's, these are the people I think of.
"But demographically, it's over for Murray's."