Since the Burgundy Lion went into lockdown in March, the once-roaring establishment has been silent. But inside, the owners have been working on a takeaway menu that has left us feeling peckish. Although it's not currently offering most items from its usual menu (which includes rarebit, Cornish pasties, and other British fare), you can still pick up obscenely delicious food from the restaurant's temporary sidewalk-bar on rue Notre-Dame.
Daily specials have included sausage and peppers sandwiches, pulled pork poutine, bahn mi sandwiches, lamb shawarma, buffalo chicken poutine, and beaver tails for dessert.
Toby Lyle, the bar’s co-owner, said they’ve been offering takeout and delivery service for four weeks.
He said it’s given them something to do while the city emerges from lockdown.
“I’ll be honest with you, it’s not to make a profit,” he told MTL Blog.
“I think a lot of us needed to be doing it. We hadn’t served anyone any food in way too long, so we missed it. Plus, the chefs miss working and they like being creative.”
In Montreal, restaurants can reopen their terraces and indoor spaces on June 22 but physical distancing requirements will make the dining experience a little different.
“We’re going to feel it out, we’re going to open as much as we can and then hopefully in the future all restaurants and bars will be doing vaccine parties, but that’s months and months away,” said Lyle, who is predicting that there will be a trend of parties all over the world if and when an effective COVID-19 vaccine comes out.
Lyle said he is happy to be getting back to business.
“It’s a relief,” he said.
“It’s all fine and good to be serving takeout food but if we’re a pub and if we’re not serving beer and whiskeys and stuff, it’s not really the same vibe.”
The Burgundy Lion came to be when Lyle and three of his friends decided to bring British pub culture to the Little Burgundy neighbourhood of Montreal.
Their wide selection of beers and whiskeys along with an extensive menu and good ambiance have made them so popular that the place is usually packed to the rafters, even on weeknights.
But like many establishments across the city, the Burgundy Lion has suffered during the pandemic. Lyle estimates the bar has lost close to $1 million in revenue since it was forced to close on March 16.
“We’ve been lucky so far,” said Lyle. “We got through a lot in 12 years, so hopefully we’ll be able to get through this.”