Nolana Pizzeria, the reboot of Racines in Old Montreal, is on a roll when it comes to Montreal's food critics. Now Thierry Daraize of Le Journal de Montréal has had his say. Despite the sometimes problematic, compact room, Nolana cranks out quality starters and pizza: "Les quatre entrées étaient toutes très agréables. (...) La pizza est arrivée cuite juste à point. C’était très bon!"
What Daraize does not address in his three star review of Nolana—perhaps because he was unaware—is the fact that the restaurant from the MTL Cuisine group recently underwent a significant change. When Nolana opened in January, MTL Cuisine's Jorge Da Silva, Jr. told Eater: "On site, the restaurant is represented by our partners, Agostino De Riggi from ADR Design (the design firm in which we often work with) and his son, Gian Paolo De Riggi who is the manager." That partnership is effectively over. The MTL Cuisine group (Jorge Da Silva and his son, Jorge Jr.) is now in a legal dispute with the De Riggis.
Da Silva, Jr.: "This is a very complex issue that involves my family as well as MTL Cuisine suing the De Riggi family for both criminal matters (theft, harassment and threats) as well as civil matters (defamation and several issues concerning malfunctions regarding design/furniture in several of our establishments). The lawyers have asked me to not further comment while we await to be heard in court."
Agostino and Gian Paulo De Riggi (who can be seen here, in Lesley Chesterman's review of the restaurant) deny all charges. The father and son, who have had a relationship with MTL Cuisine for years, recently attested that they worked for months and invested in Nolana with an implicit understanding that they were partners in the restaurant. (Gian Paolo faithfully chronicled the restaurant's development on Instagram.) When Agostino De Riggi was served by bailiff at Nolana on Thursday, April 23, it became apparent that his relationship with the Da Silvas had taken a turn for the worse. Nolana subsequently closed for two days, ostensibly because of a technical problem in the kitchen. Stay tuned for more details on the drama as they become available.