Another week, another restaurant in Montreal's Plateau-Mont-Royal borough has gone public with its struggles to stay in business. This time it's Byblos Le Petit Café, a longtime Middle Eastern restaurant on Laurier Est. After 25 years, it looks like Byblos's days could be numbered. This, the takeaway from a recent Facebook post by management (see below) in which it was announced that the restaurant's hours would be cut after the holidays, and that cash, or debit card payments were preferred. The penny-pinching restaurant fell short of calling Plateau mayor Luc Ferrandez's policies anti-business, as some have, but inferred in its statement that life in the borough was increasingly difficult for merchants.
In an interview with Journal Métro, Byblos's manager, Nina Djavanmard, insisted that diminished parking on Laurier was largely to blame for the drop-off in business. François Meunier, the oft-quoted vice-president of Quebec's restaurant association, fingered high business taxes, and increased competition from neighbourhoods like Griffintown, and Mile End, as culprits. Martin Belzile, however, the ex-commissioner of economic development for Plateau-Mont-Royal, had another theory: "The market is saturated."