After over 20 years in business, big name vegan restaurant Aux Vivres has a full-size second restaurant for the first time, with a Westmount location now open.
The newcomer to Sherbrooke West is following the same approach as the Aux Vivres mothership in Mile End, with all-vegan burgers, sandwiches, bowls, and brunches, dotted with tempeh, végépâté, and coconut bacon, among other meat substitutes. Taking after the original, it also has a take-out counter, separated off from the main dining area on a downstairs level.
Perhaps fittingly for the more moneyed neighbourhood, the location’s decor leans a little more formal and a little more muted than the more vibrant, slightly diner-esque atmosphere at the busy flagship on St-Laurent — think earthy brown colours, in both the wall panelling and banquette seating.
The new location has been in the works for well over a year, but its opening comes at a slightly turbulent time for the restaurant. In late May, 65 staff at the main St-Laurent restaurant voted unanimously to strike, seeking better pay and working conditions. A Facebook post indicated that the Aux Vivres union reached a tentative agreement with the bosses within just a few days, and before any major strike action happened, although it hasn’t been confirmed whether union members voted in agreement.
While Aux Vivres started out in 1997, the company has avoided building a restaurant empire for itself, instead focusing on getting products like tempeh onto supermarket shelves (Aux Vivres bought tempeh company Noble Bean in 2014), as well as getting ready-to-eat fare stocked in refrigerators around Montreal. The company has a major commercial kitchen on Casgrain Avenue in Mile End, with a small take-out counter attached, making the Westmount Aux Vivres technically the third location.
STATUS — Aux Vivres Westmount is open at 4896 Sherbrooke West from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. daily for now, with expanded hours on the way.