Olive et Gourmando, one of Montreal's finest, and most popular, daytime coffee and sandwich shops, announced yesterday that, as of this weekend, it would open seven days a week. New sister restaurant Foxy too. Responses on social media boiled down to a collective, and vociferous, "It's about time!". With that, Eater spoke to co-owner Dyan Solomon to find out why she and business partner Éric Girard finally decided to give the people what they wanted.
Seven days a week, after all this time. Why now?
We've had Olive for 18 years. All along Éric's the one who's been dying to do these crazy things, and I've always held him back. But when we split up as a couple five years ago, that sort of cracked a lot of stuff wide open. That led to this decision, and to a large extent, Foxy as well. I think we both felt like we could do it, as just business partners now, and without the personal stuff in the way. As a couple we never would've seen each other if we had been open seven days a week, or opened a second restaurant.
How often did customers implore you to extend your hours over the years?
Basically since the day we opened our doors, people were really mad at us about it. It's weird because back then it was common for restaurants to be open seven days a week, more so than now. Then we decided to open five days, and I think it took some people by surprise. Then people like Joe Beef did it [Joe Beef, Liverpool House, and Le Vin Papillon are closed Sunday-Monday], and that had a major impact. All of a sudden, it was like Montrealers had a problem finding places to eat on Sundays and Mondays. It was like there was nowhere to go. That's changing now, with places like Satay Brothers, for example. I'm hoping we're going to collect a bunch of people, at Olive and Foxy, who are dying for it. Sunday has a very different feel for us at Olive. I'm looking forward to that vibe. We're going to add more brunch stuff, to break up the routine. Some classic brunch items, some boozy things.
The new hours start this weekend. How do you feel?
(Laughs) Oh I'm scared! But we have a lot of strong people who've worked for us for a long time. We didn't necessarily have space for them to grow before, when we were open five days. People hit a certain ceiling at Olive. There was one chef position, and a lot of great talent, but nothing to offer anybody. Now that we've spread out, with Foxy and the new hours, we've promoted amazing people, and it allows us to grow. Back in the day me and Éric did almost everything. After 18 years in this business, you have to make spaces for young people to work in, and then step aside and let them create.