Update: video and photos of the damage at Thai Grill here. Thai Grill owner Frédéric Pichette says it will take three to six months to get his restaurant back up to snuff—something he's reluctant to do. On March 3 city workers broke a water main on the corner of Saint-Laurent and Laurier, in front of the 18-year-old restaurant. The mishap precipitated a powerful, three-hour-long, pre-dawn flood (pictured here) inside the premises. "It was like something out of a movie," recalls Pichette. "It was unbelievable. My friend, the owner of Chez Serge, ran up the street to film it."
The latest setback for Thai Grill, beset by construction and road work for years, will be the last. The restaurant will not mark a comeback. A defiant and audibly upset Pichette told Eater today that management has decided to throw in the towel and sue the city for damages. "Nobody, not one person, called us to acknowledge the accident, to apologize, to ask what they could do. Nothing. It's insane! We've been in business here for almost 20 years!"
Pichette confirms that the damage caused by the deluge was more extensive than initially feared. "There's water everywhere. It's not the tables and chairs we're talking about. It's in the walls. In the ceiling. Everywhere. The amount of work that's needed to fix it all – we'll miss most of the summer and terrasse season. We can't reopen in September and expect it to be the way it was. We're done."
The case between Thai Grill and the city of Montreal is now in the hands of lawyers. Pichette says that the saddest part for him and his partners, who were paying $44,000 a year in taxes, is that 20 employees are now out of work, through no fault of their own. And, of course, loyal Thai Grill patrons must look elsewhere for a papaya salad and duck red curry fix.