Ray's, A Taste of India closures garner online backlash

People are turning to online petitions to save two popular restaurants in Halifax’s Scotia Square food court.

Restaurants told they must leave Scotia Square food court

Ray Khattar has been serving a dedicated lunch crowd for 31 years. (CBC)

People are turning to online petitions to save two popular restaurants in Halifax’s Scotia Square food court.

Ray’s Lebanese Cuisine and A Taste of India have been given just two months to leave the food court.

Raymond Khattar said the usual lunchtime rush is what keeps him in business. Loyal customers wait in line to get their favourite falafel.

Khattar said he often knows what they want without even being told.

“I'm going to miss those people, I'm going to miss them so much,” he said.

After more than three decades as a tenant, he's been told he has to pack up and go, without any explanation.

“Why, why do you want to kick me out?” I get their shrugged shoulders,” he said.

Next door at A Taste of India it's the same story.

“They should have given me at least six months for me to look for another place to move,” said owner John Nakka.

The company that runs Scotia Square wouldn’t talk about specific tenant issues, but says the changes are part of a long-term project to upgrade and expand the mall.

But many customers say it won't be an upgrade without the family-run businesses.

At least two online petitions have popped up trying to save the restaurants' space.

“I'm sad,” said customer Mel Rusinak. “These are good people, good food, good service. They should be here.”

Harry Mugumbhan agrees.

“You can't find this quality food anywhere else in Halifax,” he said.

Despite the petitions, Khattar said he's been told the space is already rented to someone else.

Both businesses say they will try to set up shop somewhere else, but they say the short notice is poor payback for years in the food court.

“Honestly since I knew up until now I probably have only one or two hours sleep," said Khattar.

“Every time I put my head on a pillow I look at myself. I'm asking myself, ‘Did I make anything wrong?’ Thirty-one years paying my rent on time.”


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