A double-whammy of St-Henri restaurant news: the owner of Old Montreal Californian-style restaurant Venice has bought St-Henri restaurant Ludger and wine bar Magdalena, and will convert them into new establishments in the coming weeks.
A representative for Venice owner Charles Manceau confirmed the handover to Eater, noting that one of the spaces on Notre-Dame West and du Couvent will become Venice’s third location. Venice opened in Old Montreal two years ago doing healthy poke bowls, avocado toast, tacos, and more — it added a second location in 2017, as well as two bars next door to the St-Francois-Xavier Street original. The new Venice will take after the originals, but will deliver to the neighbourhood, and offer weekend brunch.
Venice number three will take just one of the spaces — the other space will be converted to a cocktail and wine bar named Paper Plane. Venice’s representative suggests that the two could be open in as little as three weeks.
That’s not all — two venues will become three, as the new Venice will sport a to-be-named speakeasy-style rum bar in the basement. It’ll have over 100 rums on hand — it seems that the bar will be similar to Clandestino, the tequila and mezcal tasting bar that the Venice crew opened in Old Montreal last year.
The buy-out means that it’s the end of the road for restaurateur Madeleine Rivet’s two venues, Ludger and Magdalena. It appears that work has already started on Ludger and that it has likely closed, and Magdalena’s immediate status is unknown, although it will definitely close.
In a message to Eater, Rivet says she initially didn’t plan to sell, but realized it offered an opportunity to take some time off for the first time in years. “We’re all happy and excited about it,” she writes.
Ludger has had an admirable five years in business, anarchist window-smashings and all, as the Notre-Dame W strip around it rapidly changed, adding more and more new, higher-end restaurants. Magdalena opened just over a year ago, with a chic tropical art déco space, serving mostly natural wines right next door to Ludger.