Chef, restaurateur, and radio personality Danny St Pierre can’t be getting much rest these days. After debuting Danny Pan Pizza just a couple of weeks ago in Saint-Henri, he’s now back with the opening of Le Pontiac, an unfussy brunch-and-more spot on Mont-Royal Ave.
The venture is a collaboration with Pierre Thibault, Fred Martel, and Nicolas Rochette of Taverne Saint-Sacrement, located mere steps away, as well as Maxime Rousseau of Pub West Shefford. “They are the OGs of the Plateau bar scene,” St Pierre says of his partners.
From a takeout window overlooking a space that will eventually be outfitted with a cozy terrasse, Le Pontiac has begun serving a brunch menu of breakfast sandwiches filled with veggie pâté, smoked salmon, eggs Benedict, and more. The offering is padded with jammy muffins, fruit smoothies, and coffee supplied by Sherbrooke roaster Faro.
Le Pontiac, which takes over the space once home to another brunch joint, restaurant Les Folies, brings the count of outposts carrying St Pierre’s line of pizzas to three. The others are Victoria BBQ on the South Shore and the previously mentioned, eponymously named Danny Pan Pizza on Notre-Dame Street. Apart from classics like pepperoni and cheese, St Pierre takes a freewheeling approach to toppings on his nine-inch Detroit-inspired pies: One called “Croque Monsieur” features ham, dijon, and Béchamel; and another, dubbed “Like an Onion Soup,” is smeared with a white wine cheese fondue sauce. They are all available in full or by the half at Le Pontiac.
What differentiates St Pierre’s pizza from others in the city is the crisp, caramelized cheese that ensconces its crust. St Pierre says it’s achieved by placing grated cheese on the perimeter of the dough before baking in a cake pan. Once the cheese meets the heat, it glides under the dough, forming a golden nest. “It’s like the best corner of a lasagna,” he says.
The same salads (celeriac with pesto and pumpkin seeds, and quinoa with cucumber and pineapple, for example) and sweets (Boston cream pie, carrot cake, rainbow-sprinkled birthday cake, and more) available at St Pierre’s Saint-Henri restaurant can be found at Le Pontiac’s Mont-Royal metro-adjacent location. “[Danny Pan Pizza] is a brand that we plan to keep growing, but we don’t want to go too far too fast,” St Pierre says. “It’s already a lot of work waking up in the morning and running it out of three places.”
Once coronavirus restrictions relax and patrons can dine in, St Pierre says his takeout brunch and pizza menus will be joined by yet another, this one prioritizing market-driven fare and meant-to-be-eaten-sitting-down dishes. “Yes, there will one day be eggs on a plate,” he says.
As for all that’s currently on St Pierre’s plate, he says, “It’s pretty intense because all these projects are blooming at around the same time, but I can’t complain. It’s a good problem to have.”
Le Pontiac is open at 701 Mont-Royal Ave. East, from Wednesday to Sunday, 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.