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New burger joint to open in old Zelda’s spot

Owner gearing to 'family-friendly' crowd

Diaa Khuffash is busy renovating the Acme Burger Company for the May 12 opening. Credit: Andrea Houston

What was once a landmark Village hotspot with dancing drag queens and a patio filled with cosmo-sipping socialites is set to open as the Acme Burger Company.

The new Church St restaurant will start slinging burgers May 12.

The former home of Zelda’s has been chopped in half and is now being leased out as two spaces. Acme owner Diaa Khuffash hopes the new eatery will become a popular family hangout with a packed patio in the summer.

“I’ve heard so much about Zelda’s. I heard it was [legendary],” he says. “I hope we will keep some of that spirit here at Acme. We’ll try our best to be the place where things happen.”

“But mostly we want to appeal to families. From what I’ve seen, [the Village] has mostly bars and clubs.”

Khuffash says the Acme Burger Company has a liquor licence, but don’t expect to see him selling beer or cocktails any time soon. “I want to keep this a family-friendly place. That patio will not sell beer or liquor.”

“I like the area. I think it’s a great community, as well as different, and I like things that are different,” says the Mississauga resident. “Plus, we sell a quality product that people in this neighbourhood will appreciate. We only sell 100 percent certified Angus beef.”

“We only use the beef chuck patty. There are no other ingredients in it, not even salt and pepper. It’s just the meat chopped up and served to people… This is the best possible meat available for humans to eat from a cow.”

Before beginning renovations in March, Khuffash admits, he hadn’t spent too much time in the gaybourhood, but he says he’s excited to build relationships with customers.

Khuffash says he is already working with the Church and Wellesley Business Improvement Area to get involved in fundraising for HIV/AIDS in July, and he plans to help out during Pride Week. “We intend to be involved in the community.”

The north side of the building has not been leased out yet. Khuffash says he’s heard rumours that Tim Hortons is in negotiations.

Khuffash’s capacity is 30 seats inside and 26 on the patio. This will be the Acme Burger Company’s third location; the two other locations are also in Toronto.

In 2009, Zelda’s, one of the anchor resto/bars in the Church-Wellesley Village (it first opened in the neighbourhood in 1997), abruptly closed up shop and vamoosed during the night of Sept 28. Zelda’s Living Well reopened at 692 Yonge St on Nov 3, 2010.