Iconic Saint-Henri taco haunt Grumman 78 has become the latest Montreal restaurant to fold amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and its resulting economic repercussions. In a heartfelt statement posted to Facebook on Friday afternoon, the restaurant announced that it would be ceasing operations immediately because the year 2020 had “crippled” its business.
The statement was signed by co-owners Gaëlle Cerf and Hilary McGowan, as well as chef Sébastien Harrison-Cloutier, who said the decision applies to both the brick-and-mortar space and lime-green food truck, the “inimitable 1978 GMC Grumman,” as they put it.
Looking back to their past 10 years of business, during which the taco spot ascended to the status of local institution, the Grumman team recalls hosting weddings, parties, and even funerals in its converted garage space, as well as the seminal role they played in influencing the city’s revised food truck legislation.
“We also changed the laws in Montreal ushering in a new age of food trucks and culinary ingenuity. And we loved every second. What a privilege to be a part of your lives all these years,” the statement reads.
In 2010, Grumman 78 became the city’s first food truck when it began selling its take on Mexican street food out of a set of wheels purchased on Kijiji for $3,500. Cerf is vice-president and co-founder of the Quebec Food Truck Association, where she lobbied the city to loosen regulations on mobile eateries for years, including this summer in the wake of the pandemic.
The restaurant will be open for one last time this Saturday and Sunday as of 10 a.m. to host a garage sale and say its last good-byes. “We have a few items that need new homes, and we’d love to see you before we move on,” the trio said in the statement.
Along with the farewell message was a video titled “Un soir a Montreal,” which chronicles how the restaurant adapted to the events of the last seven months, including launching an online sales platform and a takeout menu of taco kits.
But “see you soon” may be more fitting than good-bye in this instance: The statement projects some muted optimism, hinting that Montrealers may see the Grumman team again — “possibly on another adventure?”
- ‘Crippled’ by pandemic, Grumman 78 taco restaurant closing its doors [Montreal Gazette]
- Food trucks get OK to return to Montreal streets [Montreal Gazette]