The good news is that Pizza Bouquet and its Montreal take on New-York style pizza isn't closed.
The better news is that Pizza Bouquet is getting its own address with more room for more pizza.
What started as a small, cramped kitchen in the back of Little Italy's Notre-Dame-des-Quilles bar has grown year on year since it first opened in 2018. Now the pizzeria is setting its sights on a place of its own right across the street where the small grocer Le Petit Coin was located (45 Beaubien East).
The move marks a lot of changes, and we're not just talking about the pizzeria having 12 seats lining its street-facing windows: Owner Andre Theriault told Time Out Montreal in an interview that his plans for the 700 square-foot space include grocery options and well as—fingers crossed—beer and wine to to go.
The new spot will be designed by David Evans, Theriault's partner in the new chapter, who's recently had a hand in the building of restaurants in Toronto like Quetzal, Casa La Palma and Mercato.
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While it'll be new digs for Pizza Bouquet, they'll stay true to themselves. "We're strictly mom and pop," Theriault says. "We want it to have that warm and cozy vibe," saying that he'll be decorating with personal effects from his own apartment.
They'll be able to expand hours—with plans to open seven days a week for lunch and dinner (it was only five days a week in the evenings before—and production. What previously took them a week will now take them a day, now that they're equipped with an imported Italian Famag mixer and new fridges devoted to bulk 24-hour fermentation of their dough.
We would've made more, but we didn't have the space
What they won't expand is the menu: "There's a lot of talk about us adding things to the menu, and maybe eventually we'll get there, but I think we're just going to keep it simple with the pizza for now," Theriault says.
It's more of what Montrealers want. What's most remarkable about the shift comes from Pizza Bouquet's beginnings, starting out by hand-kneading dough for five pizzas a night to maxing out at 60 pies a night that sold out regularly. "We would've made more, but we didn't have the space," Theriault says.
Look at how excited the restaurant was to have a display case for the first time:
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What's doubly remarkable is that, throughout the pandemic, Pizza Bouquet barely skipped a beat. Having paused only briefly following the first lockdown in March, Theriault applied stricter-than-usual social-distancing measures with exclusively online payments and curbside pickup until the dining room could reopen. Even then, the street was infamously plagued with business-killing roadwork. "It was busier than ever," Theriault says. "It seemed like we were always growing before, but it continued to grow... we were selling out every night."
Shout out to the whole block.
In terms of history, Pizza Bouquet started with Andre's friendship with Ed Moon during their time at Blackstrap BBQ.
"About three years ago, I said I was retiring from kitchens, but Ed came to me with the idea to rent out the kitchen at NDQ," Theriault says.
"(Founding partner Joshua Bastien, who left Pizza Bouquet a couple years back, and I) started off wanting to do bar food, and pizza was going just one of the things on the menu, but then we quickly realized that there's no space in there. I got obsessed with making pizza at home and was experimenting, so we decided to focus on that."
Why the obsession? "You can always learn more about pizza, there's so many different things to learn all the time, and you can experiment a lot—I'm not experimenting as much any more these days though, now that I've honed down the recipe."
As Theriault has experienced good fortune before and during the pandemic with devoted customers, we asked if there was anyone he wanted to give a shout-out to and encourage Montrealers to go support.
"Neighbourhood spots we want to shout-out to include Pastaga, Moustache Café, Salle Climatisée, Vieux-Vélo, Nouveau Système, Gus and Lou. Shout out to the whole block," Theriault said.
"Oh, and Grain d'Or with their sick ass burritos, and most importantly, Notre-Dame-Des-Quilles."
Pizza Bouquet's new location at 45 Beaubien East is slated for February 2021; follow them on Instagram and Facebook, and follow Time Out Montreal on Facebook and Instagram for more news of when they open.