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Café Olimpico Will Bring Italian Espresso to an Old Church Building Downtown

Plus, there’s a new Krispy Kreme location in town, and other expansion news to know

A cappuccino with chocolate on top on a tiled counter. Café Olimpico/Facebook

DOWNTOWN — Iconic Mile End coffee shop Olimpico is planning a new location in downtown Montreal, according to the Gazette. It’ll open up in the former Presbytery behind Christ Church Cathedral on Robert-Bourassa (formerly University) and Ste-Catherine streets (not in the church, as the Gazette article stated). Given Olimpico’s heavy-hitter status, owners Jonathan Vannelli and Victoria Furfaro will keep the new location classic, with no gimmicks. This is the second expansion for the St-Viateur Street café, following a small outpost in the William Gray Hotel in Old Montreal that opened in 2016.

Opening downtown is an interesting decision for Olimpico — it obviously has name recognition, and would be one of few places for an Italian espresso in that area. But, Olimpico in Mile End is arguably beloved for its sense of place as much as for its coffee — that means a new location among the besuited downtown denizens may have a tough challenge cultivating that neighbourhood vibe. But anyway, it’ll probably do just fine, especially if the prices stay the same as in Mile End. Expect it to open in December.

A vegetable-stuffed pita. Birona/Supplied

DOWNTOWN — Mile End “hummus bar” turned Mediterranean restaurant Birona has a new counter in the Cours Mont-Royal mall. It’s a lunch friendly spot: much of the menu is served on pita bread, with Lebanese, Syrian, and Israeli influences meaning there’s plenty of olive oil, lemon, and spices to go around. Owners Alon Biron and Alon Sider tell Eater that they’re heavily focused on making refined fresh food (“we’re bringing Michelin into market prices”, Biron jokes) — all while keeping prices mostly under the $10 mark. (Meanwhile, the Mile End Birona has become more of a sit-down entity, shuffling away from the casual approach it took when it opened in 2016.)

A box of Krispy Kreme donuts on a colorful background. Krispy Kreme/Facebook

CÔTE-DES-NEIGES — American doughnut chain Krispy Kreme is going all-in on its attempt to break back into Canada on a larger scale — almost immediately after opening downtown (after several years of absence from the Island), it has added a second location on Côte-des-Neiges at Côte-Ste-Catherine.

OLD MONTREAL — Toronto-based ramen-ladler Kinton is continuing its rather rapid expansion throughout Montreal, with a new location recently added on McGill Street at Notre-Dame. The chain opened in Montreal back in 2016, and then starting in mid-2018, it added a slew of new locations, including Côte-des-Neiges, Westmount, and one in Carrefour Laval.

SHAUGHNESSY VILLAGE — Perhaps an expansion, perhaps just a move, dumpling spot Qing Hua just opened on de Maisonneuve and St-Mathieu, although it seems to be a replacement for its now-closed restaurant right nearby on Lincoln.

VILLAGE — “Fancy” burger joint Notre-Boeuf-de-Grâce is trucking along with some major expansions: It’s now open in the Village, with a Plateau location in the works, ditto for suburban restaurants in Brossard, Blainville, and St-Jérôme.

Café Olimpico

124 Rue Saint Viateur Ouest, Le Plateau-Mont-Royal, QC H2T 2L1 (514) 495-0746 Visit Website

Birona Hummus Bar

5417 Boulevard St-Laurent, Montréal, QC (438) 386-6228