When you think of the 514, you picture a vivacious city with vigorous nightlife and incredible eateries. But the pandemic and Montreal's second lockdown has left us missing many of these things — especially eating inside restaurants.
And some of the ones most affected by these lockdowns are people who work in the restaurant business. So we wanted to know what some local owners are thinking about everything that's happening now.
Costa Dimitriou, Owner of Zante, says this second closure is "far worst than the first."
"This second closure is far worse than the first. During the first closure there was a bit of hope. Summer was coming. Today the feeling is quite different. Winter is coming," Dimitriou told us.
"The reality is that we don't know what's coming. Will we be allowed to open the dining rooms after the 28th? Will the population have the confidence to return to their favourite restaurants? There are so many unknowns."
"One thing is for sure that many restaurants won't make it back after this closure. Many good restaurants that can't use the delivery and take out models."
"Montreal is a summer city. Most restaurants do a lot of their business during the short summer months. This helps carry them through the long winter. Let's not forget, no Christmas parties, no New Years parties."
"Most importantly, I'm worried about my staff. How will they manage, it's heartbreaking."
Owner Of Lloydie's, Nathanial Tull, had to close one of his locations for the time being.
"This second lockdown is a bit surreal. There's this never-ending threat of the virus but also a calming presence of 'we've been here before,'" Tull explained.
The restaurant industry is a roller coaster before you add the constant threat of a pandemic. Now we find ourselves on a ride with more unexpected twists and turns at higher speeds.
"Over the past 6 months, people have been able to gauge where and how they should pivot in the industry. We are seeing the rise of accessible comfort food being prepared for taking out from more traditionally higher-end restaurants."
"We are lucky that two of our locations are in neighborhoods that believe in local community support. That is how all of us are going to get through this."
"Unfortunately, our Crescent location is still closed because for the most part, the downtown core doesn't have a big community if offices and schools aren't full of people."
"The next giant 'thank you' that we need to give is to our staff and family. They are all understanding of the current climate and we are all just trying to look after each other."
He finished off by saying, "Oddly enough, 2020 has become the year for everyone to become more caring and empathetic to each other."
Catherine Claman, Owner of Abe & Mary's, thinks it's "all about perfecting the takeout model."
Calman has an opposing view to the owner of Zante. "I don't believe another lockdown will make it worse, it will only increase the fear and anxiety of what people are already feeling," she says.
"Restaurants who are well established on delivery will be ok as people need to eat, it is all about perfecting the delivery model."
"Of course it will hurt the economy, but it is just more than what we have endured. Once we were able to reopen, many we're still scared, so I believe this 'new normal' will continue for a while and takeout/delivery can hopefully thrive."
"We are all just trying to navigate through this time as best as possible."