For over 28 years, Farida Hussain has owned The Jiffy Grill, a popular diner at the Kingston Centre. This coming Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 10, 2020, will mark the end of a long era as the Jiffy Grill closes its Kingston Centre location.
In the last 10 years, though, Farida and her son, Mohamed, have expanded the Jiffy Grill, opening a west end location and a restaurant in Odessa, both of which will remain open.
“Our lease is up at the end of May,” said Mohamed. “And the last couple of years have been challenging. There are lots of new breakfast options in town, including some of the fast food chains. The idea of closing has been a lingering question for a couple of years. With the uncertainty of the pandemic, we made the decision to focus on the other two locations. We’ll be in a better place once we do.”
Mohamed announced the decision in a live video to the Jiffy Grill’s Facebook page. The video has over 17,000 views, more than 17x as much as any of the Jiffy’s previous videos.
“We felt that if we kept this location, we’d be putting the whole business at risk, along with our 50 employees,” said Mohamed. “It has the highest overhead.”
The Odessa location at 146 Main Street will reopen on Thursday, Apr. 23, 2020, and the west end location at 2395 Princess Street will reopen on Tuesday, May 12, 2020, two days after the Kingston Centre location closes. Both will offer contact-free takeout and delivery.
Aside from a few less dessert options, the full Jiffy Grill menu remains available.
“We have a few years left on our lease in the west end,” said Mohamed. “Braebury Properties, our landlord there, has been amazing during this process. We also had a good conservation with our landlords at the Kingston Centre, but in the end, pretty much any offer wouldn’t have been enough. It was time.”
When Farida Hussain bought the Jiffy Grill in 1992, she was the fourth owner since the restaurant opened in the Kingston Centre around 1960. It occupied an iconic corner unit, facing the intersection of Sir John A Macdonald Blvd and Bath Road, until the original Kingston Centre shopping mall was demolished in 2004. The Odessa Jiffy Grill opened in 2010, and the west end location followed in 2012. Mohamed started working at the Grill in 1994, and became the full-time manager in 2009.
The Kingston Centre Jiffy Grill remains open for delivery and takeout until the final day on Sunday, May 10, 2020.
“We thought it was fitting to have the last day be Mother’s Day,” said Mohamed. “It’s always been one of my favourite days to work. We’ll have a truly unique Mother’s Day service this year.”
While there is some sadness over closing the flagship Jiffy Grill, Mohamed is amazed by the community support he has received.
“We want to thank everybody for the outpouring of respect,” he said. “Even MP Mark Gerretsen shared our update on Facebook. It’s just crazy that we’ve had this kind of impact.”