St-Denis restaurant La Pizzaiolle, part of a small city-wide chain, has closed up shop, and the iconic metallic structure that housed it for the past 28 years is now on the market.
The pizzeria posted the news to Facebook on Wednesday, saying, “Unfortunately, the current circumstances and the changes to St-Denis street that are being imposed on us force us to conclude that our restaurant is no longer viable at this location and that it will have to give way to a future real estate project.”
While the Facebook post does not explicitly point to the work being done to build an all-seasons express cycling corridor on the street, the bike lanes have been the subject of ire among some merchants who say reduced parking for customers and delivery trucks will stifle businesses that are already clambering to survive amid the pandemic. The north and south bike lanes on either side of the street are part of the Réseau express vélo (REV), a Projet Montreal initiative that is expected to add 184 kilometres of bike paths to the island.
“Many merchants are facing bankruptcy,” a letter three St-Denis Street merchants sent to Montreal Mayor Valérie Plant last month protesting the bike lanes reads, via the Montreal Gazette. “There is a real possibility, unfortunately already demonstrated, that the current situation will be the final straw for many of them.” The City of Montreal has since announced a new subsidy program for merchants affected by the construction of the REV and whose losses amount to at least 15 percent of their gross profit.
Unfortunately, it seems to have played a role in the decision to cease operations at La Pizzaiolle’s Plateau location nonetheless. But the owner hopes the retro 1952 diner that accommodated his pizzeria will live on. “We hope to avoid, by all means, the demolition of this architectural icon, and we will offer all the technical support we can to the future buyer concerning his move,” the Facebook post says.
The diner was imported from Boston by La Pizzaiolle owner Daniel Noiseux in 1991, after being spotted laying fallow during a trip to Massachusetts. It was restored and expanded to house La Pizzaiolle, and has undergone renovations to its Formica-tabled interior over the years as well. It boasts a $250,000 price tag.
Noiseux’s two other La Pizzaiolle locations, in Old Montreal and Town of Mount Royal, are temporarily closed for COVID-19-related reasons.
- Ce restaurant iconique de la rue Saint-Denis annonce sa fermeture officielle et la vente de sa bâtisse [Silo 57]
- Un resto iconique de Montréal ferme ses portes [TVA]
- St-Denis St. merchants threaten to sue city over new bike path [Montreal Gazette]
- Merchants affected by Montreal’s express bike lane to receive subsidies [CTV]