One of the most hyped new restaurants of 2013 has closed for good and will not return in September after all, contrary to a Facebook message left two weeks ago.
Racines was the brainchild of MTL Cuisine, the Old Montreal restaurant group that also operates Les 400 Coups, Venti, Tapas24, Cantinho de Lisboa, Helena and the now-defunct Bar & Boeuf. With chef Simon Mathys in the kitchen and sommelier Franck Turbot on the floor, the arrival of the branché space in the former Louigi's diner was heralded as a welcome upgrade on the congested restaurant row that is McGill between Notre-Dame and de la Commune.
Back in Montreal after a holiday in Portugal and Spain, where he reconvened with Tapas24 collaborator Carles Abellan, MTL Cuisine's Jorge da Silva Jr. was kind enough to expand on the rationale behind the sudden Racines shutter.
I decided to close Racines temporarily a few weeks ago in order to take some time to reflect during my trip on whether I wanted to continue the adventure or not.
My mind has now been made up, Racines will not return L
The purpose of Racines was to create a unique project that would showcase the cuisine style of Chef Simon Mathys based on simplicity and local products in an appetizer style format. Unfortunately, after 9 months, the concept was simply not financially viable nor well received by the general population.
Despite the closure of Racines, myself and Simon Mathys remain friends to this day and have not closed the door on the possibility of collaborating again in the future on a new project.
Life is about risks, we both took one however Racines did not meet our expectations but we're ready to move on individually.
As for 444 McGill [Racines' address], we will be launching a new concept this Fall with the team at Venti, with the purpose of creating a more casual neighborhood restaurant serving Italian cuisine with an emphasis on cicchetti's (small tapas-like italian dishes) and pizza.
In all honesty, since Venti opened 3 years ago, our plan was always to do an off-shoot of the project and here we have a perfect opportunity.
We will make an official statement later this week regarding Racines, I had told my staff to wait until my return in order for me to advise them of my decision.