Maybe we're going to sound like a broken record here, but the last year was a tough one for the city's restaurants: As if labour shortages, gentrification, high food prices and pandemic closures squeezing the restaurant industry weren't enough? Some simply called it quits, and those that solider on continue to face issues like no-shows and the need to redefine themselves and their business models.
Here are the closures this past year that impacted local writers, critics, photographers, and bloggers the most in 2023.
What was 2023's most painful closure?
Michael Grande and Alessandro Rea, food bloggers, @mangiabeneboys: Terrasse Maya because it was barely opened for even a few weeks.
Scott Usheroff, photographer and writer, @cravingcurator: The Main Deli, this one was tough. I grew up going there and really do have a special place in my heart for the dying breed of deli’s that once flourished in Montreal. Also Maison Publique had a great run but it was sad to see it go.
Ivy Lerner-Frank, writer, @ivylernerfrank: The recent passing of Patricia Masbourian, the owner of fruit and vegetable shop Chez Nino in Jean Talon Market is one of the most painful events of the year for Montreal’s culinary community. She had a powerful impact on the restaurant scene here, as chefs and cookbook writers alike relied on her for quality, specialty ingredients: the order ledgers behind the counter reveal her influence on every important restaurant in the city. I always had the feeling that Patricia personally selected every clementine and pomegranate, habanada and chanterelle that passed through the shop. The store will go on with her family at the helm, but her absence is an immeasurable loss.
Phil Tabah, co-founder of The Main: Quebec Smoked Meat was a legendary institution that didn't get enough recognition in the local food scene. It closed before we could profile them. Still sad about that one. Also, Maison Publique closing was a shot to the heart. But I'm excited to see what Danny Smiles does with the spot.