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Top Sommelier and Chef Take Over Ownership of Joe Beef’s Little Italy Restaurant

Some big (but amicable) changes within the Joe Beef family as two of its most notable names depart

The brightly-lit interior of Mon Lapin.
Inside Mon Lapin
Stephane Lavoie/Eater Montreal

Little Italy restaurant Mon Lapin will no longer be part of the Joe Beef group of restaurants, as sommelier Vanya Filipovic and chef Marc-Olivier Frappier are taking full ownership of the renowned St-Zotique Street establishment.

And in another shake-up for the group, Filipovic and Frappier will no longer work for any Joe Beef restaurants.

The pair, who are married, announced the news on social media over the weekend. While these are big changes, there’s no drama here — Filipovic confirmed to Eater that they were departing on a positive note.

“It’s totally amicable, it’s really just that we live around the corner from Mon Lapin and we have been so happy to be contributing to all these places but we really need to slow down and focus, we don’t really have any brain space for any future projects.”

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Coucou! A rare selfie to announce some unique news! After 15 years, I will be leaving the JOE BEEF / LIVERPOOL HOUSE / VIN PAPILLON family. It’s difficult to put into words how incredible these years have been, how formative, how nourishing. David, Fred and Allison have been the best mentors, friends, and partners a gal could ever wish for. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude. As of January 1st, my amazing husband @maquereaufrappier and I will be focusing solely on our very personal project, our Little Italy spot @vinmonlapin, joining our exceptional team full time, and I will continue to pour more love than ever into my pride and joy @vindamejeanne. . . I get asked all the time; « how do you juggle so many things?! ». The truth is, when you absolutely love what you do, this isn’t a question you ever ask yourself. You just live and breathe your work, you’re all in. Never in the past 15 years have I thought; this isn’t working. On the contrary! It has been the most rewarding, challenging, and exciting adventure. That being said, a few wrinkles later, it’s time to switch up the rhythm and make space for new things. Pretty pumped for what the future holds. . . . To the many many colleagues and clients who have joined us over these years; it’s been an utter privilege. To David, Fred, and Allison; you are my family always. ‍ ‍ ‍ ❤️ . . (As someone who hates the camera, this photo was taken in 2016. My first and last selfie! A few more laugh lines today, you get the idea.)

A post shared by Vanya Filipovic (@vindamejeanne) on

Filipovic has worked as Joe Beef’s head sommelier since it opened in 2005, and Frappier as a chef in various roles since 2009. Both have become prominent names in their fields, right behind owners David McMillan, Fred Morin, and Allison Cunningham, and held ownership shares in Joe Beef, Liverpool House, Vin Papillon, and Mon Lapin. They’re giving those up, and McMillan and team are ceding their shares in Mon Lapin.

“We’re doing a clean break and letting go of our shares in [the restaurants on] Notre-Dame and recuperating,” says Filipovic.

Filipovic adds that she and Frappier are looking forward to being involved more closely at Mon Lapin, although it’s too early to say whether there are concrete plans to develop or change any elements of the restaurant.

“I’m obsessed with the restaurant, it’s the perfect little shoebox and I love everything in it and am super pumped to be more evolved.”

The pair officially finish their duties with Joe Beef’s Little Burgundy restaurants on December 21, before the restaurants close for a short holiday season break.

Joe Beef

2491 Rue Notre-Dame Ouest, Le Sud-Ouest, QC H3J 1N6 (514) 935-6504 Visit Website

Mon Lapin Bar à Vin

150 Rue Saint-Zotique E, Montréal, QC H2S 1K8