Update (July 31): With no acknowledgement of the error on social media or the article itself, MTL Blog quietly edited the story referenced below to reflect the fact that Damas has been open for years.
The headline switched from “Montreal Opens All-New ‘Syrian Themed’ Restaurant And It’s Lit AF” to “The Montreal Syrian Restaurant You Gotta Try ASAP” (sadly, it seems that Damas is no longer “Lit AF”). In the opening paragraph, Damas isn’t described as “an all new authentic Syrian restaurant”, but instead, Emily Draicchio writes:
I recently discovered this Syrian restaurant Montreal that has been open for years without my knowledge!
Further down, Draicchio attempts to give Damas a feeling of newness, writing that
The inside is larger than life after their recent renovations that make it appear to be brand new when it has been a Montreal staple for while now!
Damas has not, in fact, renovated recently — the restaurant moved to a new location following a fire in 2015, bestowing a new interior design scheme on the restaurant.
MTL Blog also removed the (slightly condescending) description of Damas as “Syrian themed”.
“Alternative facts” have found a home in Montreal: earlier this week, local content mill MTL Blog discovered Outremont Syrian restaurant Damas, prompting
writer “content maker” Emily Draicchio to offer up glowing words about the “all new authentic Syrian restaurant.”
One problem, though — Damas has been open for pretty much the entire decade. And it’s unlikely that it was a slip of the keyboard — in just 148 words, the Van Horne restaurant is described as “new” three times (and once more in the headline).
Damas has been on Montreal’s restaurant scene for over five years — and while it did close and reopen in a new location after a fire, that was in 2015, meaning anything novel about it is at least two years old.
This problem could easily have been avoided with mere seconds of Googling: type “Damas Montreal” into the search engine and a clearly dated 2015 review from the Gazette appears prominently.
Confusingly, Damas — which is run by Syrians — is also described as merely “Syrian-themed”, suggesting that a centuries-old culinary tradition is just a theme, like “tiki” or “unicorn”. It’s not themed Syrian, it just is Syrian, in the same way that MTL Blog isn’t “bad content-themed” — it just is.
It’s unclear whether the mistake was made out of sheer laziness or ignorance, or a more cynical attempt to knowingly make things up for the sake of fresh clicks from the kind of youth interested in restaurants described as “Lit AF”. Either way, it’s an error that Draicchio has made multiple times — just within the last two and a half weeks.
On July 25, Lachine falafel spot Maison Chickpea got the write up “Montreal Opens All-New "Falafel" Restaurant” — it opened in fall 2016. If we’re really stretching the definition of “new”, on July 10 downtown restaurant Tangia was also described as “opening” (i.e., in the process of opening) despite having been open for over six weeks.
Elsewhere, Village Argentinian eatery Pachamama was described as the city’s “First-Ever ‘Empanada Bar’” — nowhere on its website does Pachamama describe itself as a “bar”, and numerous other venues around town specialize in empanadas (the much-older Chilenita, for one).
Just like the food at these (admittedly good) restaurants, accuracy as a concept is “Lit AF” — and better observed on pretty much any other website covering Montreal.