Peter Morentzos is behind the development of more than 50 restaurants, with the Queue de Cheval always serving as the flagship. Others included Moe’s Deli and Bar, Weinstein and Gavino’s and 40 Westt Steakhouse, just to name a few.
La Queue de Cheval Steakhouse and Raw Bar, (www.queuedecheval.com), located at 1181 Avenue de la Montagne, has been a powerhouse for 22 years. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Morentzos tried to develop a curbside pickup service. The food was delicious as always, but economically the format was not sustainable.
Morentzos tells me that he fears La Queue may never open again. Last summer he was supposed to open a Toronto edition, right in the heart of the popular theatre district. That project is off for good as well. However, the pandemic has not resulted in a total loss. In 2014, while he was preparing to reopen La Queue in a new building, Morentzos launched a new brand called QDC Burger in the back alley on Avenue de la Montagne. It was such a hit that he placed the burgers on the regular La Queue menu and then opened standalone locations at 210 St. Viateur Ouest in the Mile End District and another at Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport in Dorval.
QDC Burger is a throwback concept that has a down-to-earth feel. Burgers are simply spectacular as they are uniquely created with a secret recipe of USDA Prime & Canadian AAA “steak-cut” along with QDC a signature brioche bun. Amazingly delicious! The taste profile on its own has the ability to create a loyal cult-like following the menu has two options: Build Your Own Burger, for adventurous foodies, or, choose one of the Chef’s selections of 10 mind-blowing burgers. From crowd favorites like the Surf n’ Turf or the MOB Burger to the health-conscious Kong Burger (Ahi Tuna) or the creative À Louer Burger (Organic King Salmon). Really hungry? No problem add two bucks and go from the large 1⁄4 lb to the extra-large 1/3 lb of USDA steak-cut beef.
This is where Morentzos is focusing his attention now. The airport locale has been closed since the spring, but business at St Viateur is booming. I recently did a pickup for the family and it is an understatement to say how fabulous these burgers are.
There was Peter himself cooking the burgers and placing them into neat containers. I dropped a classic half pound burger and fries at my mom’s first and then went home. It was about 35 minutes door to door. At my household the selections were Lefty’s Burger, the Steakhouse Burger and the Jefferson. I added the lobster roll sandwich for the following day as an extra treat.
“QDC Burger is shining for us during this dark period,” says Morentzos. “Business is up 40 percent over last year.”
And yes expansion is on the agenda. Another location will open in Old Montreal by the end of November. That will be followed in December by what Morentzos calls a “dream spot” downtown on Cyprus Street, between Peel and Stanley, right near Le Windsor ballrooms. In the spring QDC will land on trendy Monkland Avenue in NDG.
“It is an amazing kind of business,” Morentzos says. “You get a high-end quality product in between some bread for less than $20. Of course, we look forward to opening our doors again to dine-in customers, but pickup and delivery work well for us and the clients.”
Morentzos paints a dreary portrait of the future. “Big-box restaurants will not be back for three to five years,” he predicted. “Everything has changed.”
QDC Burger is located at 210 rue Saint Viateur Ouest. Opening hours are Wednesday to Sunday from Noon to 9 pm, with a curbside service takeaway menu and delivery available via Uber Eats, Skip the Dishes and Door Dash. For more information go to www.qdcburger.com or call (514) 312-0321