The pandemic hasn't been easy on Montreal chef Martin Juneau, who just put an end to the activities of Mr. Crémeux, Le Cul-Sec and Le Petit Coin—all in the same year. A lack of manpower, rising food prices and other mounting constraints are on the horizon, but the chef is far from down for the count.
The chef and his long-time associates, Alexandre Loiseau and Louis-Philippe Breton, are preparing to open a new restaurant, but it's far from the typical projects Juneau's embarked on in the past: Custom-designed and created as a family-first place, it's a place that aims to adapt to both the present and future in a thriving neighborhood.
"I'm at a stage where I want to put my family first," the chef told Time Out Montrea. "The long evenings that end early in the morning, they're not for me anymore. I can see that clearly with Pastaga."
Juneau is keeping the name of the place close to the chest for now—he wants to keep it a secret until the official announcement drops—but he did go a long way in terms of explaining the concept and the location, as well as the hope to open by the end of 2021.
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The chef's a setting up this new project on Chabanel, in the Garment District just south of Ahuntsic, and it's gearing up to be an everything-for-everyone concept.
"It will be a coffeeshop in the morning with pastries and breakfasts, a brasserie at lunchtime with simple but well-made dishes, a place to have an aperitif, 5 à 7 style, without forgetting a ready-to-eat counter," Juneau says.
So no restaurant in the evening, then.
The coffee roaster Caféine Pushers will take care of the caffeinated side of the menu, an imported natural wine list will take precedence, there will be cocktails from Marie-Lyne Fortier, and several Quebec beers en fut.
To eat, one can sit down every day to have breakfast, or enjoy a "brasserie" style dish—a pasta of the day, fish, meat or vegetable dish, some hot sandwiches—for lunch. If you can't stretch your dinner to midnight, this is the place to stretch your lunch towards happy hour.
The design is by his wife Valérie Robert, while artists LeBicar and Fred Caron are bringing the walls to life. The location and name may remain a secret for now, but Juneau is not shy about revealing a few things about the new project online; that's how those closely paying attention will learn a pizzeria will be added to the project in phase 2, at the end of 2021 or early 2022 (if they read between the lines, that is).
Be sure to keep an eye out in the Garment District for now, or follow Juneau for more announcements on his Instagram.