Toronto's Garfield-themed restaurant has reopened after a brief closure last week. On Friday it was reported that GarfieldEATS, a restaurant that specializes in Garfield-themed food and drinks, including pizzas shaped like the iconic cartoon cat, had unexpectedly closed after the restaurant's landlord had locked owners out in what appears to be a rent dispute related to the economic disruption from the global coronavirus pandemic (via blogTO).
On Friday, owner Nathen Mazri announced via press release that GarfieldEATS, which opened in Toronto's Bloorcourt neighborhood about a year ago, had been abruptly closed thanks to "a heartless landlord".
"GarfieldEATS, world's 1st Garfield theme restaurant known for Garfield shaped pizzas, big lasagnas, and Garficcino coffee in Toronto with a pop up store at 995 Bloor St. West that has turned into a nightmare for the beloved cat and the young founder Nathen Mazri, who is also a social media influencer in entrepreneurship with over 115,000 followers and advocate against homelessness," the statement reads. "Garfield has entertained the world for 41 years and a heartless landlord has shown no form of appreciation for the beloved cartoon."
The restaurant claimed that the landlord had demanded three months of rent up front and, in an Instagram Live on Friday (via Now Toronto) Mazri openly questioned why the landlord had not applied for the commercial rent relief available as part of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to their abrupt closure, GarfieldEATS had been offering food to customers for takeout or delivery as well as selling other products -- including Garfield-themed face masks.
Fortunately for Garfield fans, the restaurant's closure was short-lived. Mazri explained on Instagram that the restaurant's landlord agreed to work with them after an outpouring of support from customers.
"The only weapon I have is the Garfield fans," Mazri said. "When I speak, the whole world listens."
Opened in 2019, GarfieldEATS is North America's first restaurant with a theme dedicated to the iconic Mondays-hating, lasagna-loving cartoon cat. The restaurant was created by Mazri and co-founder Pascal Haider after approaching Garfield creator Jim Davis about the project. At the time of the restaurant's opening in 2019, Mazri and Pascal said they planned to expand GarfieldEATS to more cities by 2025.
Garfield was created by Davis in 1978 and remains popular to this day. Over the years, Davis has brought home numerous awards for his work with Garfield, including awards from the National Cartoonists Society as well as four Emmys and more.