Updates from March, 2011 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Kate 23:57 on 2011/03/02 Permalink | Reply  

    Richard Bergeron is urging the city’s auditor to investigate and considering dismantling the Société du Havre, a body that doesn’t have to answer to the public for major decisions made about the city’s waterfront. Bergeron says it’s an excrescence and its status means it doesn’t have to respond to access to information laws or open its books.

  • Kate 23:41 on 2011/03/02 Permalink | Reply  

    New York Times ponders a million-dollar condo in Old Montreal.

  • Kate 09:05 on 2011/03/02 Permalink | Reply  

    A major fire in Côte-des-Neiges last night sent 11 people to hospital, four seriously hurt.

    Later: one woman has died and another is in critical condition.

  • Kate 09:02 on 2011/03/02 Permalink | Reply  

    The new owners of Rôtisserie Laurier, which has been on that street since 1936, have just sacked everybody who works there. As noted months ago, it’s been bought by a group that includes Scottish chef and TV figure Gordon Ramsay, clearly not averse to starting his Montreal experiment with a dick move.

    • AJ 09:17 on 2011/03/02 Permalink

      It’s sad that people lost their jobs, but scanning recent reviews, the place last had its heyday 20 years ago; reviewers noted the chicken as being inconsistent quality and overpriced for what it was. Restaurants are businesses, and totally dependent on their staff for success (they wither deliver or don’t), so if they want to restart a slumping business, what’s more efficient for the owners – bring in staff who are known performers, or spend time and money trying to coach the existing staff? (Though certainly it raises the idea that there should be more of a lifelong learning opportunities for the food trades and that employers should encourage staff to expand their learning. Things like HACCP didn’t exist 20 years ago, for instance).

    • Marc 10:14 on 2011/03/02 Permalink

      The last two times I ate at Laurier BBQ were 1989 and 2008. In the case of the former, the meal very good but no better than what you’d get elsewhere. In 2008, the soup was dish water, and the meals were lukewarm and horrific. We sent everything back and decided to eat elsewhere.

    • Kate 12:05 on 2011/03/02 Permalink

      Granted the BBQ is not great – I’ve been working a block away since August yet have never lunched there because online reviews are so discouraging. It just seems high-handed to me to have this be the first bit of PR they go for at the start of their project here, probably assuming that all publicity is good publicity.

      I guess this seems a bit like the new Quebec arena to me. It makes me sad that people with money and influence can walk in and start something up, and people in general are so hungry for bread and circuses that they’ll eat it up, even if they know PKP or Ramsay or whoever is building on a history of treating other people not so well (to put it gently). I wish people would see the bigger picture sometimes and not be witless consumers of junk.

    • AJ 14:18 on 2011/03/02 Permalink

      It’s not clear from the article that this was actually announced by the owners, was it? It seemed more like they picked up on the news story from a lead and chased someone down who gave ‘very few’ answers. I think even Ramsay doesn’t relish firing anyone without a reason.

    • Ian 17:45 on 2011/03/02 Permalink

      Rotisserie Laurier won’t even let you order ribs for takeout, and their chicken’s not even as good as St-Hubert. Since Bofinger opened around the corner there hasn’t been a single reason to go – Bofinger has the food, and if you want a nice sit-down ambience there’s lots of much better restaurants within a 2-block radius.

    • Adam 19:15 on 2011/03/02 Permalink

      “It makes me sad that people with money and influence can walk in and start something up”

      It makes you sad to see people investing in our economy? Buying what sounds like a fourth-rate restaurant (I’ve never been, but I only hear bad things) and trying to turn it into something new and top-quality is a bad thing?

    • Kate 00:00 on 2011/03/03 Permalink

      It makes me sad that people can be distracted by shiny things and forget a history of maltreatment, yes. People will be fawning over Ramsay no matter what he does now. But it’s just an example of stuff that goes on all the time.

    • Adam 08:31 on 2011/03/03 Permalink

      “But it’s just an example of stuff that goes on all the time.”

      Yes, people get hired and fired all the time. Letting people go doesn’t normally mean you’re being unfair or cruel. It usually means you don’t think they’re doing the job. I doubt this was done for vindictive reasons. I understand where you’re coming from but they want to build a new restaurant from the ground up – I don’t blame them for wanting a clean slate. And don’t forget that other people will be hired in their place.

    • Adam 08:33 on 2011/03/03 Permalink

      It’s actually not even clear whether they’re being let go or not:

    • Michael Black 11:06 on 2011/03/03 Permalink

      But Kate isn’t arguing that the restaurant needs change, she’s arguing that a wholesale
      termination of the staff is the wrong way.

      You have to figure out what needs fixing. If the menu is “tired”, then likely the problem
      is further up. If the food is bad, then maybe the lower levels of the kitchen staff is the
      problem. If service is bad, that’s different from bad food. But why has things
      declined so much?

      If there is an overall problem, it may be that the servers are demoralized by
      the response they get from the customers because of the bad food. Find and
      fix the real problem, and that demoralization may go away.

      A lot of clubs and restaurants seem to have a finite life, because people want
      the new. So the renovators come in, rework things, a new sign goes up. But
      the staff can often stay the same because they can adapt. They weren’t
      responsible for the “tiredness” of the old. Even changing management
      may be enough to change the restaurant.

      Maybe some of the staff needs to go. Maybe they got stuck with lesser
      staff as the restaurant lost its appeal, in which case a pruning makes
      sense. But a pruning, not firing everyone.

      And yes, the Gazette says this morning that earlier reports of the
      mass firing may be wrong.


    • Adam 18:46 on 2011/03/03 Permalink

      “Maybe some of the staff needs to go. Maybe they got stuck with lesser staff as the restaurant lost its appeal, in which case a pruning makes sense. But a pruning, not firing everyone.”

      The bottom line is that no one is better-placed to answer these questions than the owners. No one has a better incentive to get it right than them – it’s only reasonable to assume that they did it because they thought it was a good business idea to hire new staff. Maybe they’re wrong. Time will tell.

    • Marc 19:56 on 2011/03/03 Permalink

      Question is, what will it be like after the renovations? Will it still be a BBQ chicken joint? Will it still be called Laurier BBQ? Or will it unrecognizable from what it is now? I’m betting it’ll be a posh BBQ joint with snazzy bar/lounge section whose target clientele will be affluent gen-x’ers.

    • Kate 12:56 on 2011/03/04 Permalink

      No way to know, but your guess sounds good. Laurier has a reputation for serving the affluent which the BBQ has held out against. I can’t say it wasn’t clever to move in on such a big, arguably under-exploited resto space in that location. The only thing that I don’t like is the implied attitude of “we’re going to walk into your town and shit on some of your people, but you’ll fawn on us anyway.”

    • jonboy 22:28 on 2011/03/04 Permalink

      The absolute WORST place for chicken i’ve ever eaten in.The chicken was dry and tasteless… the fries tasted like and looked like Mcain frozen fries and even worse was the sauce, a putrid concoction of vile tasting brown liquid that i nearly gagged on .I do not consider my self a picky person but i swear that i would NEVER eat in that restaurant ever again even if the whole meal was totally FREE… including alcohol The owner of that place should be completely embarassed….The Worst In Montreal !!!!! Never mind that it is also the most expensive chicken in Montreal. What a joke!! Overall a zero out of ten……not even a one.

  • Kate 08:57 on 2011/03/02 Permalink | Reply  

    A nice piece in the Globe and Mail gives yet more context to the Jackie Robinson memorial put up here this week. One odd thing, though: the address, 8232 de Gaspé, is not “near Mount Royal” – it’s north of Jarry, actually. Not a massive distance, but no Montrealer would describe the address as being near Mount Royal (park or avenue).

    • qatzelok 16:29 on 2011/03/02 Permalink

      It’s like their articles are written by people (and for) people who have never been here.
      The CN tower is near Steeles Avenue.

    • dewolf 05:26 on 2011/03/03 Permalink

      @qatzelok: A quick look at the byline shows that isn’t the case. The author is Jack Jedwab, a well-known professor at Concordia.

      Maybe it was a Toronto editor who added the Mount Royal line. I’ve had editors introduce odd mistakes into my articles before…

    • Kate 09:10 on 2011/03/03 Permalink

      Kristian Gravenor mentioned to me that articles written at the time about Jackie Robinson said he lived near Mount Royal, although de Gaspé’s south end is at Laurier. If indeed he lived at 8232, he was well north of the tracks into Villeray, most of the way to Crémazie – definitely not a neighbourhood definable as near Mount Royal, although my suspicious side wonders if that wasn’t inserted to make the story square with what’s known about his whereabouts. (He wasn’t listed in any Lovell directory, either – probably wasn’t here long enough.)

    • mdblog 14:37 on 2011/03/05 Permalink

      Maybe they meant Town of Mount Royal?

    • Kate 17:35 on 2011/03/05 Permalink

      8232 de Gaspé isn’t especially close to TMR either and I don’t think there would have been any reason for Jackie Robinson or anyone writing about him to try to make some connection between that location and TMR.

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