Chef S’Arto Chartier-Otis of acclaimed Griffintown restaurant Hvor is back with something new — and a big change. He’s running a healthy lunch counter connected to a trendy new gym in Mile End, open now.
The gym is Machina, located in a loft building on de Gaspé, and the comptoir is correspondingly named Machina Smart Bar, serving up smoothies, salads, and a few hot dishes by lunch each day.
Chartier-Otis left Hvor in 2017 (the restaurant closed a few months ago), and briefly worked at Griffintown seafood restaurant Makro in the interim. While he doesn’t own Machina, the gym recruited him to craft the counter operation, which also retails health supplements and fitness wear in a small retail shop.
Chartier-Otis tells Eater that he realizes that his new gig is a big change from fine dining, but it’s something fresh, with its own challenges.
“When they presented [the project], it looked like a depanneur or a cafeteria, a type of food service that is not always seen positively, so why not bring nice food to that concept?”
“It’s not always about your ego and being more fancy, creativity can be about how you adapt to a different concept...putting together a dish that you can eat and feel full of energy all day, that’s maybe more challenging for creativity than putting nicer products on a fancy plate.”
The offerings at Machina need to cater to gym-going performance types, and include energizing dishes at Machina like daal and bibimbap. There’s plenty of vegetables and whole grains, and proteins are available as add ons — but chicken, tempeh, and albacore tuna, not beef. Dishes come in under ten dollars.
While there’s no coffee, there are matcha drinks on offer, and “superfood”-laden smoothies, all served in a shiny space with big windows facing Mile End’s former industrial zone.
STATUS — Machina Smart Bar is open at 5455 de Gaspé, number 105, from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily (note that some items are only served around lunch hours).