Brace for yakiniku — it looks like Japanese barbecue giant Gyu-Kaku is likely to be opening its first Montreal location downtown.
An astute Chowhounder noticed the storefront on Crescent Street, and someone has indeed registered a Facebook page for the store, although it remains silent. The address is marked as 1255 Crescent, site of former strip club Teazers.
The restaurant’s schtick is that meat is pre-marinated or seasoned, and you barbecue it yourself at the table, known to some as yakiniku A host of non-barbecue Japanese options are available at Gyu-Kaku locations, from chicken karaage to udon bowls.
The chain has blown up in its homeland of Japan, opening nearly 700 stores in just over two decades. It expanded to the United States in the early 2000s, and has progressively been opening up new locations in major cities around the country — the US is now its biggest market outside Japan, and along with Canada, is the only area outside Asia home to Gyu-Kaku. It counts just four Canadian locations — Toronto, Calgary, and two in Vancouver.
How will it fare? Well, the whole barbecue apparatus built into the table thing will draw crowds on the basis of novelty, and Montreal isn’t saturated with any sort of barbecue, so there’s probably an audience. The Crescent Street location isn’t terribly desirable, though — even if (Hooters excluded) that west end of downtown has been on somewhat of an upswing for good food of late.
Gyu-Kaku’s menus vary from location to location, but if you’re in need of more information, check the Toronto menu below, which will presumably be similar to that in Montreal.
Meanwhile, Eater has reached out to Gyu-Kaku to get more details, and a timeline for opening — we’ll keep you updated.