Chef Antonio Park on the brand new Meals Corridor in downtown Montreal
Food halls are becoming increasingly popular for eating out, and Montreal is set to have a big one soon. The space called Le Cathcart Restaurant et Biergarten will be located in the heart of the city center and will replace the old Place Ville-Maries food court, without a doubt an evolution of the typical food court cuisine.
One of the project partners, Chef Antonio Park from Park Restaurant, notes that a lot of the motivation behind the project is to bring something new and exciting to the downtown Montreal food scene that he believes is currently being used by big companies like McDonald’s and Thai are dominated expressions.
“We want to look to the next 60 to 100 years to make sure the city is doing well and attracting visitors and giving them a different perspective on Montreal and what it can be,” says Park.
The project, which Park is reluctant to call “Food Hall” but rather a collaboration of restaurants, will include around 18-19 companies that are currently yet to be confirmed. Three more formal restaurants with seating are also planned to open nearby to provide plenty of dining options for diners. Despite closed lips over more specific details, since Antonio Park is a partner and restaurant group A5 Hospitality (from Kampai Garden, Jatoba, and others) is behind the project, there is no doubt that high-end, fast-casual dining will be the priority . The space is being designed by Sid Lee Architecture, the company behind other major projects such as the recent renovation of the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel.
“You wouldn’t go to a food court for the first time, but you’d take them to a food hall,” jokes Park. He also notes that one aspect of the project he’s most excited about is the opportunity to collaborate with fellow chefs and restaurateurs. “There are a lot of chefs involved, so we can exchange ideas and learn from one another. That gives us a lot of opportunities to work together as a team, ”explains Park.
The announcement hints at the continued popularity of the food hall concept and collaboration with well-known chefs. Recently, Maison Publique’s Joe Beef Group and Derek Dammann teamed up to create McKiernan Luncheonette; not a food hall per se, but with its 5,000 square meters of catering and event space it is inclined in this direction. Also close to the upcoming Le Cathcart Restaurant et Biergarten is Marché Artisans at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth Hotel, which was inspired by Eataly.
“The trend is massive,” says Park. “More and more people know what they are eating and what they are putting into their bodies. We live in a world in which we are evolving; Ingredients are getting better, recipes are getting better and food is becoming more of a collaboration, an exchange of cultures. “
What better way to make this sharing easier than having a 47,000 square foot space in the heart of downtown Montreal visited by locals and tourists on a daily basis? Also directly across from Le Cathcart is the McGill University campus, which has a diverse student body from around the world.
The Le Cathcart Restaurant et Biergarten opening date in late 2019 to early 2020 is still a way out, but it’s undoubtedly worth looking forward to and a welcome addition to downtown Montreal’s somewhat lackluster food scene.