A hit New York City bakery, café, and restaurant is on the cusp of opening its doors in Griffintown.
Maman started out in SoHo in 2014, and has since expanded to seven NYC locations, plus one in Toronto, drawing major acclaim for its baked goods (in particular, the nutty chocolate chip cookie, named one of Oprah Winfrey’s favourite things in the 2017 holiday season).
Now, it’s Montreal’s turn, with Maman set to open on Notre-Dame near Guy, taking over the premises of French restaurant Licence IV, which moved to Old Montreal earlier this year.
While the concept might be an import, the owners certainly aren’t: founders Elisa Marshall and Benjamin Sormonte are Canadian, have lived in the city before, and have moved back here to raise their family. They’re joined in ownership by Sabrina Taddei, a Montrealer with a background in event planning (and a friend of Marshall).
Marshall calls Maman a fusion of southern French culinary culture with some North American influences. With a name like Maman (“mom” in French), it fittingly takes a rather homey approach.
“Most of the recipes and the environment is very much inspired from our moms and home environments,” says Marshall.
That shows through in staple dishes like the Croque Maman (their take on a croque-madame) or the part-healthy, part-hearty waffle-iron hash browns with smoked salmon, avocado, greens, lemon, dill, and egg. It’s an eminently lunch-friendly place, with sandwiches a highlight; many of the menu options are named for moms who gave the recipes to Marshall and team.
Marshall tells Eater that Maman Montreal will lean a little more towards a restaurant than some of the existing locations: a 5 à 7 program will be in place, offering a French-style apéro and small plates. The restaurant also has a full liquor license meaning French wines and Quebec beers are on the menu, as are some specialty cocktails like the Ouest Side, with gin, St-Germain, cucumber, mint, lime, and elderflower. Beyond that early evening service, it’ll also do breakfast, lunch, and weekend brunch.
Maman is also set to be an event space for both private and semi-private — an option that has proved popular in New York for parties like birthdays and bridal showers (the early evening closures and a large space also help with availability for events).
Of course, given the praise bestowed on Maman’s baked goods, the bakery side will be in full swing in Montreal with those Oprah approved choc-chip cookies (and another Oprah-endorsed s’mores cookie), plus options like a white chocolate lavender blueberry cake, and a pistachio chocolate croissant. A solid coffee program will be on hand, with beans imported from Brooklyn roaster Parlor.
The space has had a major renovation, and will exude a light and airy, Provençal atmosphere, with Marshall having designed it and done much of the purchasing for it in the south of France, right down to the cozy streetside terrasse.
“It’s very southern French inspired, definitely has tones of greenery, with a beautiful outdoor feel and vibe,” says Marshall.
STATUS — Maman opens Monday August 5 at 1524 Notre-Dame W. Open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.