2017 is almost over — so here’s a chance to stroll down a memory lane that isn’t lined with Donald Trump news. Eater has covered no shortage of scandals, chef shuffles, closures, and almost endless openings. Right here are the ones that drew in the most eyeballs, in ascending order. Onward to 2018.
Interestingly, this story was nothing huge — just a perfunctory announcement of a bar opening in St-Henri. Yet Riverside’s large outdoor space, wedged up against the post-industrial decay of the Canada Malting Silos, piqued reader interest more than any other bar this year.
Perhaps due to the higher concentration of anglophones, news about NDG is typically popular on Eater — and this story, announcing two new restaurants (the fancier Hopkins, and casual eatery Porco), grabbed ample attention.
Closures like Hôtel Herman and Libertine Bakehouse might have been declared the saddest of the year, yet many also came to mourn NDG neighbourhood spot Prohibition, after co-owners Matthew Rouleau and Stephanie Russell called it quits in May.
This story was low-stakes but high-drama: a conference for prominent social media folks threw a VIP lunch at fancy steakhouse La Queue de Cheval. The lunch was a mess, so Breakfast Television host Catherine Verdon-Diamond criticized the restaurant on Facebook — and drew a bizarre response.
A controversy in Montreal’s music scene over a promoter accused of sexual assault spread to the restaurant world when it turned out that the man being accused, Patrick Mocan, owned a local energy drink company, Prime Mate. A call for restaurants and bars to boycott the beverage ensued.
Harry Potter fans were aflutter when news broke that a bar apparently themed after the series of novels in Toronto was planning to open in Montreal. Except on closer inspection, the bar is not as Harry Potter-themed as it seemed, probably due to the expensive licensing costs that would come with using such an idea — this article delved into what exactly the bar is doing.
The food-reporting antics of local content-discharge mill MTL Blog appeared in more than one story this year, but this was one of the more popular. The story is straightforward: the site reported that years-old Outremont Syrian restaurant Damas had newly opened. Yet it was also mind-numbingly ignorant: an online search for Damas turns up multiple reviews and stories about the restaurant, all of which are old, and on page one of the results.
That wasn’t even MTL Blog’s most popular blunder for 2017 — that honour went to this story. The owners of Thai counter Épicerie Pumpui were upset that writer Emily Draicchio described their establishment as Indian — and her response to the situation only made things worse.
Possibly the most bizarre Montreal food world story for 2017 was this incident, where president of breakfast chain Chez Cora was kidnapped from his Mirabel home and dumped near Laval, fortunately unhurt.
The restaurant controversy of the year was the decision from Quebec government corporation Loto-Québec to spend big on a restaurant from superstar French chef Joël Robuchon. The restaurant opened in late 2016, but the issue was brought up by the opposition Parti Québécois in Quebec’s National Assembly over the winter. Finance minister Carlos Leitão suggested that $11 million of public funds might have gone to the restaurant — and while the number was never confirmed, the story blew up.