TORONTO — Prominent Montreal chef Antonio Park has a lot of famous pals: there’s his well-documented friendship with former Habs player P.K. Subban, but also Toronto rapper Drake. And the Park and Lavanderia owner isn’t just friends with him, he’s heading up the menu at Drake’s upcoming restaurant Pick 6ix (yeah, the name is pretty Drake-branded). The downtown restaurant is officially a partnership between Park’s restaurant group and Drake’s record label Ovo, and it’ll be pretty casual, with Park calling it “a high-end restaurant that’s also a sports bar”. Park isn’t ditching Montreal, though — he’s working in more of an executive chef capacity, and will travel up and down the 401 periodically while being based in Montreal. Since this is a Montreal site, we won’t go into the operational details here, but the Toronto Star has some thorough coverage of the menu — think sushi, raw bar, short ribs, and burgers.
PLATEAU — Popular cocktail spot La Distillerie is now more than just a series of bars: it now has a hostel above its Mont-Royal location, named Le Bed & Cocktail. It’s inspired by Japanese capsule hotels, and has 12 pod beds with communal kitchen and living area. The beds go for $39 to $59 per night, breakfast included, so it’s pretty budget friendly, and La Distillerie right below is likely superior to any hostel bar imaginable.
OLD MONTREAL — Normand Laprise has a few notable winter specials on offer. His famed restaurant Toqué is doing its five course youth menu with three wines again this year at the enviable price of $98 — it’s available Tuesday and Wednesday nights through early April (except for a couple of nights around Valentine’s Day) for anyone aged 18 to 30. Over at sister restaurant Brasserie T, there’s a truffle-based winter brunch happening on February 24-25 and March 3-4, $50 for two courses.
ALL OVER — The Canadiens have having a very mediocre season, and bar owners aren’t loving it, according to a report from Global News: sports bar magnate Peter Sergakis told the network “we have nobody for hockey”.
ALL OVER — There’s poutine week, pizza week, burger week, but don’t forget that there’s also a hot chocolate week for Montreal: La Grande Tournée du Chocolat Chaud is on from January 20 to 28 this year with specialty chocolate beverages offered at a bunch of great chocolate and pastry spots such as Rhubarbe, Hof Kelsten, Patrice Pâtissier, and Les Chocolats de Chloé. More information is on Facebook, and eyeball last year’s popcorn hot chocolate in anticipation.
ONLINE — There’s now a search engine for menus, and it’s available in Montreal: Sirved launched relatively recently, and while it’s still building up a database, it seems reasonably thorough. Check it out on their website.
CÔTE-DES-NEIGES — A friendly reminder to Google proposed restaurant names before opening up — CDN burger spot Notre Burger Gourmet has changed its name to Alcove. The change could be because much of the restaurant’s branding used the acronym N.B.G. — pretty darn similar to NDG burger joint Notre Boeuf de Grâce (which also goes by N.B.G. Oops.
CÔTE-DES-NEIGES — After breakfast and burger restaurant Tiffanys bailed out of its Decarie Boulevard location a couple of months ago complaining of excessive construction work, chain steakhouse Madisons is reportedly moving in.
DOWNTOWN — Homey Italian spot Parma Café is now open for breakfast, and would probably be a good option in the downtown land of mediocre chain coffee and pastries.
QUEBEC CITY — Various restaurants might have had unpleasant encounters with burst pipes this winter, but nothing comes close to the feeling when your hotel made entirely of ice somehow catches on fire.