Today, Beach Metro Community News looks back over the decades to remember the 3 Star Restaurant on Kingston Road.
The restaurant was located at 919 Kingston Rd., just east of Balsam Avenue.
From the middle of the 1950s to 1970, the restaurant was run by Tom Gulin and his family. Many people referred to the restaurant over the years as “Tommy 3 Star”.
In 1948, Tom Gulin came to Canada at the age of 12 with his family from Macedonia. His family (father Gicho, mother Dimitra and older sisters Evangelina and Alexandra) came to Toronto in search of a better life.
Tom’s first job was as a shoeshine boy on Yonge Street. He then became a waiter for John Bitove Sr. at the Java Shoppe Restaurant on Bloor Street West near Jane Street.
After a few years, with the assistance of his father, Tom purchased the property and 919 Kingston Road and opened up the 3 Star Restaurant. He worked very hard in those early days at the restaurant, being there from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. from Monday to Saturday.
In 1955, Tom married Marge and they went on to have three children (Michael, Alexander and Kathey) together. The family lived directly above the restaurant until 1967 when they moved to Scarborough.
After many years of working the long hours required to serve customers, Tom decided to sell the 3 Star Restaurant in 1970. It was sold to brothers Bill and Bob Mallinos and they continued to run it until 1979.
After he sold the 3 Star, Tom went on to open two more restaurants: The Gateway Fish and Chips in Aurora with his brother-in-law Archie Papulkas, and then the Villa Fish and Chips with his family in the West Rouge neighbourhood of Scarborough. Tom died in 2013.
While he ran the 3 Star Restaurant, Tom became well known to Beach and Kingston Road Village residents and business people.
Many of his regular customers began to ask if he could also cater off-site functions, and despite the challenges of this he was able to do so. Tom hired extra staff to help cater many weddings, bowling, baseball and hockey banquets over the years.
The 3 Star Restaurant was also active in the community and sponsored a number of sports teams including the Dentonia Park championship baseball team of 1964.
Apparently that championship was won in a best-of-five game series that saw the 3 Star Restaurant’s team pitcher Jim Smirnis toss a no-hitter in Game 3.
Having been in the community for so long, the 3 Star Restaurant had numerous loyal customers over the decades.
Some of those notable customers included musician Glenn Gould; film director Norman Jewison; actor John Candy; pro hockey players Brad Park, Mike Walton, Rod Seiling and Jim McKenny; former Toronto police chief William McCormack; and Dr. Ross Bennett.
The 3 Star Restaurant was not only a popular spot with students from Malvern Collegiate, Neil McNeil Catholic High School, Adam Beck Public School and Balmy Beach Public School, but it also provided many of those youngsters with jobs.
Some of the most popular menu items of the customers at the 3 Star Restaurant were French fries and gravy, peameal bacon and eggs, clubhouse sandwich, toasted Danish, and rice pudding.
If you have memories of the 3 Star Restaurant you would like to share, send them to Beach Metro Community News editor Alan Shackleton at email@example.com and he will share them with Tom’s family members.
— Information for this story was sent to Beach Metro Community News by Alex Gulin, the son of Tom Gulin.
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My sincere gratitude to Alan Shackleton (editor) and the entire staff from Beach Metro Community News for publishing this wonderful memory of my late father Tom Gulin and the 3 Star Restaurant. Also, I would like to add that Tom Gulin’s brother-in-law Bill Kiradzi was our chef for many years and loved by the regular customers.
I lived on Pickering St. which ran north off Kingston Road, nearly opposite Tommy’s. I got to know Tommy quite well. I was a graduate of Adam Beck PS and attended Malvern CI.
My Mom was the manager of Randall’s Stationery which was located at Kingston and Scarborough Roads, just a couple of blocks east of the restaurant.
I was often sent to Tommy’s to get take out for the staff of Randall’s.
There was another restaurant, Ciro’s (sp?) I believe that was just a few stores east of Randall’s. It was a good spot but we always went to Tommy’s.
He was a really nice man and i enjoyed eating there with my friends.
So many years ago.
Thanks to you Allan and Beach Metro for doing this historical Beach feature. I know Alex will be happy and proud in memory of his dad Tom and family who hard working guy Also sponsored many Beach sports teams.. A testimonial of all the hard working immigrants back then contributions to our beloved Beach community. My parents immigrated from Scotland/Ireland after World War 11 my Dad had active service as many local and new beach residents did back then in the 1940s/1950s. Loved three Star chips and gravy that is all I could afford while a student at Malvern, also loved the Peameal bacon breakfast, toasted Danish and rice pudding all my favorites.
I would like to thank Beach Metro Community News, especially Alan Shackleton and his team for showcasing our father, Tom Gulin’s, business. He was very proud to be a member of the community and always shared good memories with our family.
Thank you for this article. It certainly brings back a lot of good memories. My mom and dad actually met at the restaurant. I remember how good the French fries and gravy was. I don’t think anyone has been able to match that. I think it cost $0.25 cents, even though Tommy never charged me for it. I was very sad when he sold the restaurant.
What a wonderful Aricle on the life of Tom Gulin and his time as the owner of the 3 Star Restaurant. It brought back so many great memories. I had the pleasure of knowing the Guli family for many years and I know Tom would have been so proud to be recognised so many years after his passing in 2013..Thank you Beach Metro News..
Thanks for a wonderful article, Alan. It brought back many happy memories and time I wish I could relive. I lived on Beech Ave from 1952 to1964 and went exclusively to the Three Star Restaurant. Early times I went with my Mom and later with friends as a teenager. My Grandparents were from the same village of Nevoleni in Macedonia as was Tom so we had a real connection with him. I remember sitting at the counter eating his fabulous rice pudding while my Mom had her coffee and Rothman’s cigarette and spoke Macedonian with Tom. I loved that rice pudding so much that I would have two servings at a time. So Tom started giving it to me in a soup bowl instead of a dessert bowl! I sure miss those days, thanks again!