As fall rolls around, it seems that casual dining is the focus for many a Montreal restaurateur — the Joe Beef team have a luncheonette planned with Derek Dammann (Maison Publique), Normand Laprise isn’t aiming to create a Toqué 2.0 but rather, expanding his more laid-back bistro Brasserie T, and Martin Juneau (Pastaga) is opening up a lunch counter-slash-restaurant-slash workspace.
Here’s the low-down on those — and numerous other newcomers for the coming months.
Who: Maison Publique owner Derek Dammann along with the Joe Beef group (Dave McMillan, Fred Morin,) and Alison Cunningham), although Liverpool House and Joe Beef staff Chris Morgan, James Simpkins, and Derek Reinhardt are involved heavily on the ground.
What: This all-star line-up of owners is going casual as they venture past St-Henri and across the canal — McKiernan actually has a mandate to serve the loft building that houses it (which is predominantly offices), so expect coffee and lunch fare from two houses of gastronomy that have made names with rustic-but-refined Canadian cooking. The large space will also be open to events and catering — so plenty of new turf for all involved.
When: September, it seems
Where: 5524 St-Patrick, suite 200 — in the Luxury Retreats building
Who: Pierre-Luc Chevalier, Charles Deschamps, and Maxim Lepage — the owners of Rosemont’s Régine Café.
What: An expansion of sorts for extremely popular Beaubien Street brunch haunt Régine. The original has drawn line-ups even on weekdays for five years now, so it’s time for the trio of owners (who used to operate La Cantine on Mont-Royal, too) to take on some new territory. While it will share some Régine staples (hopefully the French toast, above) and baked goods, it’ll get into more vegan and vegetarian options too.
When: Late October.
Where: 3900 Wellington in Verdun (the former Cucina Linda).
Who: Christine Lamarche and Normand Laprise, owners of Toqué, former Google exec Patrick Pichette, and Cerf de Boileau owner Doug Harpur.
What: The first new project in a few years for this Quebec culinary icon will be a more casual affair in a Parc-Ex development, offering light meals and coffee during the day, and a more formal restaurant setting by night, as well as a boutique grocery counter (a “showcase for artisans”, Laprise has previously said). It’s not the only Laprise project in the works — he’s also planning a second location for Brasserie T in South Shore mega-mall Dix30, and wants to add another few Brasserie T locations in coming years.
When: TBD — but fall is the word.
Where: On Beaumont Avenue near Acadie, in Parc-Extension.
Who: Louis-Philippe Breton and Martin Juneau of Pastaga, Cul-Sec, and Monsieur Crémeux.
What: A multi-purpose project — part café and workspace, part lunch counter with prepared boxes centred around salads, sandwiches, and cheeses, it will also offer breakfasts, and eventually, incorporate a more full-service restaurant.
When: Well, that depends — Tricot is already doing lunch boxes for office workers and the like in the area, but it doesn’t have an open-to-the-public space yet — possibly in September for the café, with the restaurant later in the fall.
Where: 6666 St-Urbain, on the edge of Little Italy and Marconi-Alexandra.
Who: A Toronto vegan and gluten-free chain by the same name.
What: The first Quebec outpost of that Toronto chain, which is known for drawing substantial lunch-hour lines with a hyper health conscious menu loaded up with brown rice, quinoa, and beans, and almost any “superfood” you can think of, alongside a few breakfast options.
When: September or October, but it’s hard to say, since the date has shifted a few times.
Where: 417 Notre-Dame West, in Old Montreal.
Who: Catherine Tremblay and Eric Bernard of St-Henri wine spot Chez Lavigne.
What: More of a restaurant operation, compared to the wine bar/small plates approach at Chez Lavigne — chef Sarak Tiann is moving over from that operation to work on “a [menu] with French techniques, inspired by the multi-ethnic side of Montreal.” With ex-Hoogan & Beauford sommelier William Saulnier on wine and Ludger’s Julie Bélanger-Cateysson on cocktails, there’s plenty of promise.
Where: 5064 Papineau Ave. in the Plateau, in the former Les Cons Servent location.
Who: The Barroco group, known for their restaurant by the same name but also St-Henri double-act Foeigwa and Atwater Cocktail Club.
What: A Neapolitan pizza restaurant from a group that has tried its hand on a range of concepts from Euro supper club to French-American upscale diner.
When: Social media shows recipe testing going on right now, so we’re guessing September.
Where: 1886 Centre Street in Pointe-St-Charles.
Who: Joey d’Alleva and Sophie Bergeron, formerly of Verdun bar Balconville (Bergeron is a partner at nearby Wellington, too), and big-name BYOB owners Marc-André Paradis (O’Thym), and Frédéric Leblond (Wellington).
What: A neighbourhood Italian resto, doing wood-fired pizza and fresh pasta, but drawing on local produce too; expect affordable wines and Quebec craft brews at the kind of place that looks to be a tidy neighbourhood go-to.
When: Hopefully fairly soon (i.e. September), but it’s not totally clear.
Where: 3681 Wellington Street in Verdun.
Le XVI XVI
Who: Cédric Moindrot — a French immigrant, relatively new to Montreal’s food scene.
What: A major project with space for nearly 200 across a restaurant and cocktail bar, Headed up by a chef with experience at Manoir Hovey in the Eastern Townships, and a bartender who cut his teeth at Le 4e Mur, it looks to be formal, but menu details are pretty slim (we’d guess French-leaning). Moindrot wants to make it a place where technology is showcased, which means there will apparently be a robot with bartending capabilities on site.
When: 1616 Sherbrooke West, downtown, as the name suggests.
Where: Mid September.
Who: A5 Hospitality (Flyjin, Jatoba, Kampai Garden).
What: The A5 group have held onto the location they used for pan-Asian brasserie Kozu, but are trying something much more multi-purpose out, with a day-and-night project running the gamut from coffee and a workspace during the day to cocktail bar by night. Food will lean health-conscious — think the ubiquitous smoothie bowl or tartine options that have cropped up all around town. Gypsy isn’t brand new — a group of Montrealers already opened one on the touristy Indonesian island of Bali, and this one will follow a similar format.
Where: 500 Rachel East, in the Plateau.
Who: Charles Manceau, owner of Old Montreal’s Venice and its adjoining bars, Boho and Clandestino.
What: An underground whisky bar — Manceau has already tried the format with the den-like Clandestino, which focuses on tequila and mezcal with a mix of tastings from a long list, and cocktails. Broken Coconut will basically do the same, but with whisky.
When: Late September.
Where: 4001 Notre-Dame West, in St-Henri — under the new Venice.
- Ahuntsic pastry favourite La Bête à Pain will get a third location, a few years after expanding to Griffintown — this one’s going to be up in Laval, just off the Laurentian Autoroute. Expect it in September.
- Plateau Lebanese grill Omnivore is set to make its first expansion, with a location in the works for the restaurant- and bar-heavy St-Denis strip in the Latin Quarter.
- Mile End “comfort food, but fancy” spot (and bar) Nouveau Palais is also making its first expansion, taking over the former Landry et Filles on Papineau Avenue in the Plateau.
- Pizza-centric snack bar and Buonanotte spin-off Fiorellino is getting a huge second location on Laurier, taking over the former Laurier BBQ space in the near future.
- Plateau fish favourite Saint Sushi has set its sights on Westmount, panning a second location near Greene and Sainte-Catherine.
- After testing the waters for two years, Toronto import Kinton Ramen is doing a double-expansion, with a new location on Côte-des-Neiges (reportedly open), and one for Westmount on the way.
- Charming Villeray café-slash-bookstore Chez L’Éditeur (operated by published Québec Amérique) is opening up a similar coffee shop in Griffintown, likely in September.
- L’Avenue, the Plateau restaurant known for obscenely long brunch line ups, is taking its business off-island for the first time, with a location in the works for Boucherville in September.
- Sushi comptoir Ryú is set to reprise its Mile End location on Laurier Avenue, which it closed when it made the switch from restaurant service to something more casual — it follows a just-opened location with a matcha bar in Westmount.
- Locally-grown vegan chain Copper Branch has a bucketload of new locations in the works for the rest of this year and into 2019 — the company seems to be looking to the ‘burbs, with locations slated for Place Bell (Laval), Vaudreuil, Kirkland, and Candiac.