Carlos Ferreira (Café Ferreira, Café Vasco Da Gama, Taverne F) just celebrated the 20th anniversary of his flagship restaurant on Peel, an event that raised over $100,000 for the CHU Sainte-Justine Foundation, but the prominent restaurateur won't be hemmed in by nostalgia. Not if his determined daughter, Sandra, can help it. Ferreira fille is driving the family legacy forward, beyond the confines of fine dining. Enter Campo, a Portuguese chicken restaurant around the corner from Café Ferreira, in the former Royal Photo at 1108 de Maisonneuve Ouest. The Ferreiras have patiently invested months cultivating the concept, and getting all the requisite elements in place. "We're in construction now," says Sandra Ferreira. "We started a few weeks ago, and we're on deadline to open by late summer. Hopefully by back-to-school time, late August or September."
Curiously, Campo's genesis was sparked by a 60th birthday bash for Daniel Boulud in New York just over a year ago. Sandra Ferreira was once roommates with Boulud's daughter in Manhattan, and the families are close. "We were at Rotisserie Georgette for Daniel's birthday, and my dad said 'Wow, a chicken restaurant like this is such a good idea'," Ferreira recalls. "My dad wanted something more fancy. I wanted something more casual. Eventually he agreed! This is totally different from what we've done in the past. Campo is more urban, younger, but still with the best quality ingredients we can find at that fast-casual price range. We looked at organic chickens — we tried so hard, and we visited so many farms, but the cost was prohibitive."
The Ferreiras eventually settled on a grain-fed, free-range poultry farm outside of the city. Campo's chickens will get a 24-hour piri piri marinade, with a glug of Carlos Ferreira's branded Portuguese olive oil for good measure. There will be piri piri ribs as well, with optional ginger/orange/honey glaze finish. As for the cooking method: "We imported a special brand of Portuguese grill called Gresilva. My dad swears by the product, and we've been using it at Ferreira for a while now. It's indirect gas flame over ceramic. We never planned to use charcoal, to be honest, and we couldn't do it downtown, even if we wanted to."
Provencher Roy, the firm behind Café Ferreira's recent overhaul, has been tasked with Campo's design. "The restaurant will have 35 to 40 seats," says Sandra Ferreira. "The design is beautiful, super cozy, and comfortable. And the wait time to get your food will be minimal. Customers will order and pay at the counter — it's going to be very efficient. I'm eventually looking to implement online ordering too." Wines from the family vineyard in Portugal will be available on tap at Campo, along with a vital Portuguese chicken complement: Super Bock.
Do the Ferreiras have franchise or expansion hopes for Campo? "That's a goal, for sure," admits Sandra Ferreira. "Two and a half years ago I decided to come in and work with my dad. I want to make a career of this, and I don't think there's room for ten Café Ferreiras in Montreal. If Campo works, amazing. I think the brand can carry, I think it can go in other neighbourhoods, but we'll see. If people are receptive, I'll be very happy."