Just when you thought Montreal was all food hall’ed out, there’s one more on its way. Le Cathcart is set to open in Place Ville-Marie this January, and it’s got big names including Uniburger and the owners of St-Henri restaurant Arthurs on board.
It’s officially billed as Le Cathcart Restaurants & Biergarten, and the format will be a little different to the primarily counter-service approach of newly opened food halls Time Out and Le Central. Le Cathcart will feature three full-service restaurants — a brasserie, and one each focused on Japanese and Italian cuisines. The offerings will be rounded out with nine faster, counter-service options, geared more towards the lunch crowds from the large number of nearby offices.
A number of Montreal favourites will be represented in the hall — longtime Chinatown restaurant Mon Nan will have a casual counter, as will Plateau Lebanese grill Omnivore, Vietnamese restaurant Hà, and no-fuss burger joint Uniburger.
The other fast-casual stalls are new concepts, but some familiar names are behind them. A salad counter named Dirty Greens will be headed up by Raegan Steinberg, who co-owns the ultra-popular Arthurs Nosh Bar in St-Henri. Her partner, Alex Cohen (also from Arthurs) will also open Italian sandwich spot Patzzi in Le Cathcart, along with chef Luka Lecavalier.
There’s also a project from a notable import — Miami chef and James Beard award nominee Michael Lewis (known for restaurant Kyu in his home city) will open a Korean fried chicken counter, Chikin.
Alex Besnard, founder of A5 Hospitality, a key player in the project, describes these chefs as “collaborators”, and notes that their counters were developed in tandem with the food hall.
The casual options will be rounded out with two coffee shops, open early in the mornings. Finally, there’s projects from A5 Hospitality, who are key players in the overall food hall — they’ll bring taco counter Tulum Taqueria, and will serve poké bowls from a stand named Karma.
Then, there are the restaurants. Former Un Po’ di Piu chef Nicholas Giambattisto will oversee a morning, noon, and night brasserie named Mirabel, with a French focus, and some Italian influence too. Ex-Bottega chef Federico Bianchi will dish up Neapolitan pies at restaurant Pizza del Fornaio, and chefs Olivier Vigneault (Jatoba) and Antonio Park will mix up a menu of char-grilled skewers and sushi at Osaka street food-inspired restaurant Akio.
As reported when the project was announced a year ago, the space will centre around a lush biergarten-inspired space with plenty of greenery, and a glass ceiling looking out above it. That area will be open to all (and will be accompanied by bars offering bar and table service) — the full service restaurants will have their own designated seating areas.
When it opens, Le Cathcart will be the third food hall to open in the space of six months — a significant injection of new restaurants into the downtown area. (One of the others, Time Out, is just a couple of blocks away.)
That could make it seem like Le Cathcart is arriving into a relatively saturated market. But Cathcart takes the place of Place Ville-Marie’s pre-existing food court, meaning it’s not competing with anything in its own building. A5’s Besnard also notes that Cathcart is geared towards serving the large volume of people in Place Ville-Marie, rather than being a “special occasion” kind of destination. It’ll also be easily accessible right off McGill College Avenue, at ground level
“We have a purpose on a daily basis and it’s to feed the people who work in Place Ville-Marie and the surrounding area. So we built [it] with that main goal in mind.”
To that end, the counter options will offer faster, lunch-friendly options, while the full-service restaurants will give options for business lunches and the like, all in an environment that looks, well, rather appealing — at least based on its renderings.