To the relief of some and the chagrin of others, another Grand Prix has come and gone. As the Bernie Ecclestone F1 circus prepares to land in Spielberg, Austria, Eater Montreal spoke to a few key players in the city about the weekend that was.
Maison Boulud "was very much busier", says executive chef Riccardo Bertolino. "We broke every record. Almost 1,000 covers in two days. Very difficult for our kind of restaurant but we managed. Très belle clientèle, lots of personnalités du Grand Prix et clients réguliers qui avait envie de se faire du plaisir."
Globe partner Roberto Pesut reports that 2014 was "one of the better ones in years. Mother Nature was nice to us. It helps. Even after all these years I'm still overwhelmed with emotion after it's over. People from all over the world enjoying our beautiful city to its fullest. Refreshing!"
J-P Miron, the chef at Globe, gave his tally of the weekend on Instagram: "It's finally over! 7 days in a row. 93 hours for me and my sous chef. In the last 4 days we managed to serve more than 1000 clients. Went through more than 700 lbs of beef, 100 lbs of porc, 100 lbs of veal, 500 lbs of lobster, 250 lbs of crab, 2000 oysters and 45kg of tuna. I wouldn't have been able to complete this [weekend] without them. They are cooks, waiters, busboys, suiteurs, managers, owners, friends, roomates. I could never be more happy to be part of this family."
Down the street from Globe in Hotel 10, Fabio Broccoli unveiled Jargo just in time for Grand Prix: "The weekend was great! We were a little overwhelmed as we only opened one week before but I think everything turned out great! Lots of beautiful people as usual, a real jetset crowd. And the Saturday brunch party was amazing!"
Jérôme Ferrer of Europea writes: "Effectivement ça était une année exceptionnelle pour nous. C'est près de 200 clients en soirée."
Jorge da Silva Jr.'s MTL Cuisine group owns some of the most popular restaurants in Old Montreal: "For us in Old Montreal, Grand Prix is always the same. We do the same number of clients - however the average per client is always higher during Grand Prix weekend because clients tend to spend more. The only downside is that we have a high rate of no-shows over this period. Example: 17 no-shows at 400 Coups on Saturday night (all out-of-towners) and 27 no-shows at Helena on Friday night (a mix of locals and out-of-towners)."
Pascal Bisson, of Le Lunch Box Comptoir, sold concessions at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve over the weekend: "We did very well, can't ask for more. People really embraced freshness and healthy alternatives to the the traditional hot dog or pizza. Look at the lineup of one of my three concessions on site!"
Kevin Barrière is a cook at Brasserie T! in the Quartier des Spectacles: "It was busy but nothing particularly huge really. Though last night for some odd reason we got a monster of all monster rushes right at 9. It was [crazy] but I don't think it had anything to do with Grand Prix."
Few restaurants rely on or do more for Grand Prix weekend than Buonanotte. For partner Massimo Lecas, 2014 "was good overall. We matched last year even though we had a corporate party on Thursday. Last year's Friday night was a disaster [due to unseasonably cold temperatures] so we made that up because of the very, very good weather. Personally, I saw a lot of tourists and corporate people and not a lot of Montrealers. Local people used to come out of the woodwork for tables - customers that we hadn't heard from in a year or two. Now, not as much."