Donnellize | Verb, Slang | To “Donnellize” is to erase all of the original character, charm, and wit of an independent establishment with the systems and corporate structure of a chain. The origins of the term come from the effect that the Donnelly Group pub chain supposedly had on iconic establishments after purchasing and “renovating” them (eg. The Lamplighter in Gastown).
In recent years, however, the term has come to refer to a city-wide reduction of standards in the restaurant industry, for which the Donnelly Group is not wholly responsible and the company has been trying hard to turn its reputation around.
The word is also commonly employed not only as an insult to respected restaurant industry veterans who are seduced by the salaries offered by chain restaurants, but also as a means to describe entire neighbourhoods that have surrendered important, iconic properties to chains without protest. It is also used as a lazy lament in the past tense (most often by an older generation that somehow can’t fathom a younger generation’s indifference to their formative experiences in the 70s and 80s).