Pre-eminent Montreal drag queen Mado Lamotte appears to be preparing to open a restaurant on Sainte-Catherine in the Village.
A restaurant bearing her name, La Dinette à Mado, is currently hiring and appears to be moving into the space right next to Cabaret Mado, the 15-year-old bar and performance space that Mado co-owns. Quebec’s business registry confirms that Mado (or Luc Provost) and co-owner Denis Brossard are both involved in the project, in the space that previously housed local fish-and-chip chain Comptoir 21.
Details on the restaurant are slim (Eater is reaching out for more information), but given its Mado branding, it’s likely to feature drag queens in some sense, likely as servers. The “drag restaurant” is an untapped market in Montreal — while not terribly common, it’s a form of resto-tainment that’s on the rise in the USA right now. For example, Los Angeles-based Hamburger Mary’s, where bejewelled and made-up queens tote burgers and fries, has been in expansion mode recently.
Not just a pretty face, Mado seems to be operating as a wise businesswoman with this decision: with the ever-growing popularity of reality TV competition RuPaul’s Drag Race, drag is generally having a moment (Cabaret Mado and other nearby bars like Le Cocktail screen the show weekly, drawing large crowds).
On top of that, the Village is moving towards becoming more of a general tourist destination, moving away from its former status as a place for LGBTQ tourists — attending drag shows may have been the domain of queer people in the past, but in recent years Mado suggested that her audience was often 80 percent straight women, and a popular bachelorette party destination. The cabaret shows are usually later in the evening, so it’s an opportunity to grab those clients earlier in the night.