Cosmos' New Owner Has Been Revealed & He Shared His Plans For The Famous Restaurant
He's got some big greasy shoes to fill.
Sometimes grease can evoke strong emotions. David Minicucci, the new owner of Cosmos, a beloved breakfast spot in NDG, seems to get that. "People come here for the very distinct Cosmos atmosphere and I don't want to mess with that at all," said the entrepreneur. "On the Montreal Gazette article online, one of the comments posted was 'If the new owner changes anything about the Mish-Mash (omelet), he dies.' So, I got the message loud and clear."
Cosmos has been leaving an enduring impression on customers for decades with its familial atmosphere and pork-laden menu.
Its founder, Tony Koulakis, became a local celebrity thanks to his huge personality and amazing potatoes.
But behind the laughs there were some tough times. In 2013, Tony was killed by his son.
Despite the tragedy, his other children, Nikos and Niki Koulakis, continued running the business.
But whether it was good times or bad, there is no question that diners felt included in the family and many were saddened when the place went up for sale in May.
"I think it was just time," said Minicucci. "Niki has to get hip surgery. And I think they were just getting tired. But the sale went well in that they're happy the place will carry on."
MTL Blog caught up with Minicucci to ask about the big greasy shoes he's expected to fill.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Could you talk about what a typical experience at Cosmos means to you?
It's not a place for private conversations, so you'll be talking to your friend and all of a sudden people will start chiming in, even the employees.
It's really unique and there aren't that many places left in Montreal where you can have that sort of communal dining experience.
What are your thoughts about getting into the restaurant business?
I'm very excited but also nervous at the same time. I love this place just as much as anybody else and people don't like change when it comes to these sorts of things.
So, it's very exciting but I also don't want to be the guy that comes in and messes everything up.
At the same time, I've spent a lot of time at the restaurant lately and the old-time customers have been very supportive and encouraging, which made me feel a lot better and confident about all this.
What can customers expect in terms of changes now that you're the owner?
In terms of changes, I'm not changing a thing! The decor, the menu, the prices, nothing will change. The only thing is that the hours will now be Wednesday to Sunday, 7 p.m. to 4 p.m. We're closing Monday and Tuesday while the pandemic continues.
I'm very lucky that Angie and Areil, who both work there now, are going to stay on.
Did you know Tony? What do you remember about him?
I remember (Tony) from when I was a teenager. He had the rough exterior, sweet interior sort of persona. And always smoking above the grill while he cooked.
What's your favourite thing on the menu?
My favourite dish is hands down the Creation.
It's the perfect breakfast sandwich. The Mish-Mash (or I should say the dish formerly known as the Mish-Mash) is probably the more popular dish but it's a big weekend sort of breakfast. But day in and day out, the Creation with potatoes is perfect.
On that note, after the whole fiasco with Beauty's and the Mish-Mash, they had to change the name of the dish to the house omelette.
But I think going forward, I'd like to honour what the family built by changing the name to the Koulakis omelette.