Photo cred - Moetreal at Jargo
There's no denying we Montrealers are spoiled for options when it comes to restaurants. We simply love our food and subsequently, eating out consistently ranks as one of our favourite pastimes. As the insatiable gourmets that we are, this city boasts no less than the most restaurants per capita in Canada, which pretty much translates to recurring arguments between groups of friends over where to eat tonight. First world problem if ever there was one, right?
While having so many choices is a luxury we shouldn't really complain about, the price of competition in an already cut-throat industry, is brutally unforgiving for those who can't manage to keep up. What's worse is that it's not like there isn't the demand, just a market truly over-saturated with restaurants on every corner.
As someone who worked as a professional chef for several years, I know first-hand the cost of doing business in this foodie mecca, and can confidently say it's not pretty. Having a quality product is the first step, but the birth of the celebrity chef and the gaining obsession with the culinary arts as pop culture entertainment has made it that hard work, technical skill, and tried experience don't necessarily equal success anymore, if not paired with the proper media attention. Unfortunately, this often translates to big losses, and closed doors.
The restaurant biz is by far one of the toughest, especially for the kitchen staff who, day in and day out, work twice as hard for half the pay compared to many other industries, and are then forced out of jobs when it all goes tits up. In a city so enamored with its food, you'd think that the restaurant scene would be thriving, but in fact, it's sadly the opposite.
In the first three months of 2015, highlighted here, Montreal has already seen 15 restaurants close up shop, ranging from the neighbourhood gems, to the up-scale establishment, and chances are they won't be the only ones.
Restaurants closed in 2015
- Le Van Horne, 1226 rue Van Horne – CLOSED.
- Brama, 6701 boul. St-Laurent – CLOSED.
- Cocagne, 3482 rue St-Denis – CLOSED
- Le Bifthèque, 6705 Côte de liesse – CLOSED.
- Pho Sho, 5175 rue Sherbrooke – CLOSED.
- Poutine Centrale, 6707 boul. St-Laurent – CLOSED.
- Moonshine BBQ, 5625 Décarie – CLOSED.
- Amelio’s, 201 Milton – CLOSED.
- Misto, 929 Mont-Royal O. – CLOSED.
- Grenouille, 844 Mont-Royal E. – CLOSED.
- Le Chasseur, 3882 Ontario E. – CLOSED.
- Jargo, 8 Sherbrooke O. – CLOSED.
- Baravin, 1735 St-Denis – CLOSED.
- Aziatik, 626 rue Marguerite d’Youville – CLOSED
Is this a concerning trend of overall instability of our economy? Were these restaurants just not up to par compared to their competition? Are there just too many restaurants in Montreal these days? Hard to say, really, but one thing is for sure, I feel for those who no doubt put their sweat and tears into building these restaurants, now left wondering what went wrong.
**UPDATE: A previous version of this article stated that Petit Medley was closed. It has been confirmed to us that they are not closed, and have re-branded under the name Petit Medley Simple Malt.