David Minicucci, the owner of Cosmos, has purchased a plot of land in the online world Decentraland.
Cosmos owner David Minicucci is launching a new creation.
It's a plot of virtual real estate in the metaverse where dining companions could someday enjoy a virtual reality meal experience in a three-dimensional rendering of the beloved greasy spoon on rue Sherbrooke.
He bought it on January 14 in the online world Decentraland for $15,000 worth of cryptocurrency.
Minicucci said he is looking to give customers something different.
"To my knowledge, we are the first restaurant in Montreal to enter the metaverse," he said. "All of this is very new to me, but I find it an exciting avenue to explore with Cosmos."
A mish-mash of new technologies
Much like the signature omelette, the metaverse is a mish-mash of new and upcoming technologies that will allow people to mingle, work and play online, more than ever before.
Minicucci said it will provide opportunities for restaurants both large and small.
"I think restaurants will certainly have a role to play in the metaverse but everybody will need to figure out exactly how their offering fits in," he said. "A company like McDonald’s may focus strictly on delivery, whereas a business like ours may focus more on the interactions within the restaurant."
"It’s super interesting to me but it’s going to take some time before we see how restaurants adapt," he added.
'Taking all of this with a grain of salt'
Many Montrealers have fond memories of sitting down with friends at Cosmos for terrific potatoes and great conversation. And you'll still be able to do that at the digital restaurant, without the added stress of leaving your home.
Using virtual reality headsets, people will "interact with the other customers and employees the same way they do today," said Minicucci.
As for the food, it'll be real and calorific thanks to a proposed network of ghost kitchens across the country "that would allow anybody entering the metaverse to order our food and have it delivered to their home so that two friends living in different cities could meet at Cosmos in Decentraland and enjoy the experience together," he explained.
Having purchased the plot of land under the name The Famous Cosmos, the next step in the process will be to construct a virtual version of the restaurant.
The opening date will depend on how fast people adopt the technology, said Minicucci, who added that he's "taking all of this with a grain of salt."
"We are in the very early stages of the metaverse right now and it kind of feels like the AOL chatroom stage of the internet," he said.
The actual restaurant will remain unchanged
Courtesy of David Minicucci
Founded in 1967 by Tony Koulakis, the beloved NDG breakfast spot was purchased by Minicucci in 2020.
Since then, he's done his "best to keep things as untouched as possible."
"Given COVID, the addition of a credit card machine and the food delivery services were a must," he said. "We now also have air conditioning in the summer, but besides that, everything pretty much remains the same."
Running Cosmos has been "an awesome experience so far," he added. "Tony Koulakis's picture up on the wall reminds me a lot of my grandparents and their journeys in this country. The whole thing really hits home and inspires me to add to the next chapter of Cosmos the best way I can."
When asked what the legendary founder would think of his decidedly old-school no-frills place entering the metaverse, Minicucci said, "I think he'd really get a kick out of all this and be proud to see his business carry on and evolve."
"Just as Cosmos has always been a community gathering place, a judgment-free zone where everyone feels welcome and free to share their thoughts, I am excited to see whether that can be the case in the metaverse as well," he said. "Social meetup spots will exist in the virtual world and I would love if Cosmos could remain a place where people from all walks of life got together to exchange ideas and banter."