Toronto's recent restaurant explosion saw everyone and his/her dentist investing in flashy supper clubs where conspicuous consumption was the dish du jour.
But the dot-com bubble burst and the party ended -- literally -- as disposable income dried up.
Further blame goes to Mel and his ridiculous 2008 Olympics bid. Greedy real estate speculators bought up every available downtown property, in the process overinflating market values and causing restaurant overheads to soar.
But it's not all doom and gloom on the foodie front. The recession (there, I said it) will have exactly the same effect on the restaurant biz as the economic setback that followed the boom years of the late 80s. We're talking the return of reasonably priced comfort food.
Now that nearly every greasy spoon in the downtown core has morphed into a trendy trat, retro spots featuring home cooking are bound to be the Next Big Thing. Already, this trend can be seen at beaneries like the new Aunties and Uncles, where wallet-friendly calf's liver 'n' onions replaces budget-busting foie gras.
Similarly, now that Toronto has reached total sushi saturation, watch for Hungarian restaurants -- the very joints the Japanese wiped out all along Bloor -- to make a big comeback. Hello, schnitzel. So long, sushi pizza.