Iconic Jewish steakhouse Moishes is moving out of its home on the Plateau — although it’s not the end for one of Montreal’s oldest restaurants.
According to various reports on Wednesday, the steakhouse will eventually reopen downtown. But due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it will take a “hiatus”, in the words of Lenny Lighter, son of restaurant founder Moishe Lighter. There is no fixed date for its potential return to business.
The 82-year-old steakhouse grilled its last ribeyes at its opulent, second-level location on St-Laurent in March, although nobody realized at the time. Moishes did not reopen after restaurant dining rooms were permitted to return to business in June.
It turns out that Moishes had been planning to move downtown prior to the pandemic, with its lease at 3961 St-Laurent expiring at the end of 2020. The new address has not yet been announced, but will be in the vicinity of Square Victoria. Lighter, the restaurant’s corporate director, told CBC that the restaurant would have opened for lunch service to cater to thee much-larger office crowd in that area. That location would also allow it to draw a larger after-work crowd for the same reasons.
Construction started on the new location at the beginning of August. However, with office workers and tourists mostly absent from that area, it’s far from a good time to open a restaurant downtown — hence, Lighter’s plan for a hiatus.
This isn’t the first shake-up for Moishes in recent years — at the end of 2018, Quebec’s Sportscene group purchased Moishes. That company also owns sports bar chain La Cage aux Sports and the remaining Quebec locations of Chinese-American chain P.F. Chang’s.
While Sportscene promised that the restaurant’s “personality and family spirit” would be preserved, it still transitioned from family ownership to corporate ownership (hence Lenny Lighter’s title as “corporate director” rather than “owner”). Sportscene purchased all rights to Moishes’ branding, meaning it also owns Moishes’ retail products, found in grocery stores.