For what should be the restaurant world’s quiet season, winter brought a host of high-profile new arrivals to Montreal, with new venues from the owners of Joe Beef, a new shack for the Au Pied de Cochon folks, and a new pizza spot from some of the Nora Gray crew. Spring might be a little more casual, but there’s still lots to look forward to: here are some highlights.
Who: Chef Antonin Mousseau-Rivard, of much acclaimed Village/Centre-Sud restaurant Le Mousso.
What: the A more casual, wine bar-type set-up to showcase Mousseau-Rivard’s playful and local, “minimalist but complex” Québécois fare — while Le Mousso is tasting menu only (and thus a rather pricy night out), Petit Mousso will allow the average person to frequent a Mousseau-Rivard establishment, working for both 5 à 7s and meals if needed.
When: Before the end of March.
Where: In the current Le Mousso space at 1023 Ontario East; Le Mousso will move to the corner of Amherst and Ontario right next door.
Who: The same people as the original Fiorellino Snack Bar — that is, the Buonanotte restaurant group (see: the supper club by the same name, sandwich spot Porchetta, and Old Montreal’s Jellyfish).
What: A big new sibling for casual café-restaurant-snack bar Fiorellino, which has excelled in doing pasta, wood-fired pizza, and antipasti for the downtown masses.
When: Later in the spring, likely mid-May.
Where: In the former Laurier BBQ space in Mile End, 381 Laurier.
Who: Hockey pro turned bar pro Kevin Demers, bartender Daniel Boulianne, and the rest of the team at Old Montreal basement cocktail spot Coldroom.
What: It’s aiming to be Canada’s smallest bar: a Cuban cocktail spot with a grand total of 150 square feet, doing a few rum-based classics and some new creations — and it will have room for about nine people (not counting staff).
When: Probably in April.
Where: Right in the vicinity of Coldroom, on St-Vincent in Old Montreal.
Who: Chef Daniel Maislin (ex-Satay Brothers) and Yoni Amir (who has family ties to Lawrence and Larrys).
What: No-nonsense Israeli-style falafel, in sandwich form, with all the fixings (save pita) made in-house, from pickled cabbage to spicy hot sauce z’hug.
Where: 54 Saint Viateur West, in the former Mile End location for Café Sunrise
Who: Michael D’Ornellas and Keegan Kelertas, who own microbrewery 4 Origines
What: The Point is getting its very own brewpub — 4 Origines will be brewing out of a former industrial building and getting creative with beers such as a tea pale ale and cappuccino stout. It’ll have room for 100 or so, but no kitchen, although food trucks will appear in the summer, and the duo behind it are working on ways to bring in other culinary concepts.
When: Towards the end of March.
Where: 1304 St-Patrick in Pointe-St-Charles.
Who: Jean-François Leduc of Café St-Henri
What: St-Henri’s original third wave café and roaster is making its most notable expansion yet, throwing open the doors on a café and roastery in a 8,000 square foot space featuring a coffee lab and vertical greenhouses; food options will get more attention than ever before.
Where: 7335 Mile End, which is actually in Villeray (near Jarry Park).
Who: Sushi chef Tri Dư.
What: A little brother for chef Tri’s Plateau sushi spot Tri Express — the petite but popular Laurier sushi spot’s counterpart will be more casual, and more of a take-out counter.
When: Relatively soon — the restaurant is hiring right now.
Where: 6697 St-Vallier (corner St-Zotique) in Petite-Patrie
Who: Pro pastry chef Kathy Daehler (formerly of Mile End’s Cardinal Tea Room), chef-owner-steak man at Restaurant Gus, David Ferguson, and a third partner.
What: The folks behind this project are holding their cards very close so there aren’t many details, but it’s going to be something rather different to Gus, that’s for sure — possibly a more daytime oriented establishment.
When: Late March or early April.
Where: In the vicinity of Gus (Little Italy; on Beaubien just east of St-Laurent).
Who: Toronto-based Chase Hospitality Group, known for a variety of restaurants in that city but most notably here, the original Colette Grand Café in that city for several years, garnering positive write-ups.
What: A French restaurant for department store Holt Renfrew — it will lean Mediterranean with partly Provençal dishes but also flavours from elsewhere on that sea (e.g. North Africa); expect an elegant but not formal setting with commensurate prices.
When: Late March or early April
Where: Inside Montreal’s downtown Holt Renfrew store, at 1300 Sherbrooke West.
Other Openings To Note
- Thomas Vernis of Old Montreal café Tommy, pizzeria Dolcetto & Co. (and others) is plotting an all-day brunch and coffee spot very soon, likely in Old Montreal.
- Neat Hochelaga Irish pub Le Trèfle is expanding, and opening up in Verdun sometime before the end of March.
- Local vegetarian royalty Lola Rosa is working on a new Place des Arts location.
- Big deal new French restaurant Monarque is still in the works from the owner of Outremont’s Leméac and his son (Richard and Jérémie Bastien, respectively), but when it’s coming isn’t totally clear yet.
- Plateau buns-with-pork-and-more makers Hao are expanding their Rachel Street premises, which will mean a little bit of seating and more menu options.
- It’s no longer anticipated, since it’s now open: the latest Joe Beef group restaurant, Mon Lapin, just arrived in Little Italy.