Owners of steamed Little Burgundy restaurants will close their patios

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They say they weren’t consulted on the construction schedule, but the borough mayor says “we’re doing what the companies asked for.”

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Restaurant owners in Little Burgundy are furious that the city is moving forward with a major construction project this spring that will force them to close their patios for much of the summer – after two years of financial difficulties due to the pandemic, and weeks after they were finally allowed to return to full capacity.

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“Not once did they ask us what we wanted,” said Toby Lyle, co-founder and co-owner of the Burgundy Lion pub. “They decided what they thought was best for us without consulting or notifying us. They decided it would be now, two weeks after we were back to 100%.

“After two years of getting beaten up and kicked over and over and finally, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, to all of a sudden realize this, it’s just awful.

“It’s so trying. It’s just incredibly frustrating. And also, the Grand Prix is ​​approaching. People will come to town for the first time in three years and they will all want to go to Joe Beef and they will run into a giant construction project.

“It’s not good for the city of Montreal.

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Repair work on the water main under Notre-Dame Street West between Vinet Street and Atwater Avenue should begin in mid-April and last 12 weeks. Several restaurateurs said they were notified of the work schedule on Tuesday evening.

Benoit Dorais, mayor of the Sud-Ouest borough, said he was shocked to learn that the restaurateurs were unhappy. He said they asked the city to delay the water pipe project for three years and wanted it done this spring.

“I’m very surprised to hear some people say this plan isn’t working for them,” Dorais said. “I can guarantee you that we are doing what the companies have asked for.”

But the owners of Pizzeria Geppetto, Joe Beef, Liverpool House, Vin Papillon, September Café and Stem Bar all told the Montreal Gazette they had not been consulted on the construction schedule. They all say it could have been handled better by the city.

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Dorais said he wasn’t happy that Lyle took to Facebook to voice his grievance.

“Toby Lyle has my cell number; maybe it would be worth him calling me to talk rather than posting something on Facebook,” he said.

“All we ever asked for was a little transparency, a little diplomacy, a little communication and consultation, and that didn’t happen this time around,” James Graham-Simpkins said. , general manager of Joe Beef. Group, which owns Joe Beef, Liverpool House and Vin Papillon.

“We would have liked to be consulted to reduce the impact. Instead, they catch us off guard.

The owners believe it would make more sense to do the construction work later in the year, perhaps in the fall, to mitigate the negative impact on their restaurants and cafes.

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They pointed out that they had been closed for almost half the time since the start of the pandemic.

“(We are) going to start the summer by not allowing our customers to sit outside, and that does not say how difficult it will be to park because there will be a one-way street (on rue Notre-Dame. ),” said Alessandro Ghirotto, owner of September Café and Stem Bar. “When they finally cross the trenches to go to the restaurant, after all, they realize that they cannot sit outside.

“For me, the ideal would be to do it in October or September. Or even late August is better. It’s the worst case scenario. »

Geneviève Guertin, owner of Pizzeria Geppetto, fears that people will see the construction and stay away all season.

“You know what it’s like when summer comes to Montreal,” Guertin said. “Everyone wants to be outside. Nobody wants to be inside. If they can’t be outside my house, they won’t come inside. They’ll just go somewhere else. They will go to another pizzeria where the patio is open. I don’t blame them. I would do the same. I’m not going to go to a street where there is work and where I can’t park.

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  1. From left to right: Marc-Olivier Frappier, David McMillan, Christopher Morgan, Ariel Schor and James Graham-Simpkins: Professional and unpretentious, the Joe Beef group relies on relaxation and pleasure.

    Conclusion: Liverpool House is a great place to eat and have fun

  2. Bartender Maggie Morris pours a pint of beer while sharing new bar conversation with Brigeen O'keefe and Javier Lee at the Burgundy Lion Restaurant on Monday, January 31, 2022.

    Customers and owners hope restaurants will stay open for good this time

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