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Quebec’s 1st  first Virtual kitchen concept located in Ville St Laurent has seen groundbreaking success since its launch on July 1, 1st, 2021.  

“We knew our concept would be a success,” said Dan Vigderhous, president of Q-ZN Solutions, “but we never thought we’d see such an explosion right off the bat!”

Q-ZN has secured 21 brands operating out of only 13 kitchen spots, with just 3 kitchens left available for rent. Concepts include American Eclectic Burger, AYA, Big Daddy Wings, Bubble Tea, Cattlemans Pizzeria, Cote Saint-Luc BBQ, Jerk House, Maneki, Man vs. Fries, Mezzmiz, Mia Pasta, Moushi, Nosh Box, Petit Sao, Quebec Pizzeria, Rebel Wings, Shodz, Sofia 2 Go, Wendy’s, Wings & Things and the much-acclaimed MrBeast Burger.

“Working with Q-ZN has been ideal for us,” said Nick Monaco, owner of Sofia2Go, Pizzeria Sofia’s first Montreal location (and only delivery-only location) complementing their other two locations in Brossard and Rosemere. “The facility provides everything we need in a seamless, efficient concept. The management team is outstanding, they provide incredible support, and the Q-ZN concept is simply brilliant!”

With no on-site dine-in facilities, Q-ZN is geared towards pick-up and delivery only and has partnerships with Uber Eats, Skip The Dishes, DoorDash, LightSpeed and Eva.  They have also just launched their proprietary online ordering application – Q-Zone

Q-ZN allows its operators 24/7 access to their own kitchen space, tailored to meet their individual business needs and includes:

  • State of the art kitchen facility fully equipped with all necessary equipment to run a Delivery-Only restaurant
  • Partnership deals with key Delivery partners such as: Lightspeed & Deliverect, Sysco, UberEats, Skip The Dishes, Doordash, Tzanet and more!
  • Low overhead and initial costs tailored to maximize profitability for delivery-only restaurants
  • Flipdish: Digital ordering from kiosks or phones, and grow your business with marketing and loyalty campaigns.

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

Glenn J. Nashen grabs a kosher slice at PizzaPita Prime

    PizzaPita has been going strong in the Snowdon area for more than 30 years. With their recent move across Decarie Boulevard to the former Pizza Hut location in front of Decarie Square, at the corner of Decarie and Vezina, they have a prime spot to garner the attention of thousands of commuters, shoppers and locals each and every day. Hence they’ve rebranded PizzaPita to PizzaPita Prime.

    Photo by Photo Patricia Brochu

    Due to the recent government regulations put in place on Monday, September 28th, 2020, Time Out Market Montréal will now be offering delivery and takeout only as indoor dining is temporarily unavailable, effective as of Thursday, October 1st. Dining in will be closed for as long as required to fully support local efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

    To comply with the latest public health regulations, Time Out Market Montréal’s concessionaires will offer their exquisite dishes through takeout and delivery only. For takeout, guests can pre-order via the Time Out Market app ahead of arrival at the Market or in person with the Market staff. The Time Out Market app can be downloaded for free on the App Store and Google Play. Should diners prefer a delivery option, they can order their favourite dishes quickly and conveniently through the DoorDash app. The locally renowned chefs and concepts offering takeout and delivery include:

    All delivery and takeout options have been developed with full compliance of Public Health recommendations. The Market team will continue to closely monitor and evaluate the situation and will reopen indoor dining based on government regulations and our guest requests. As the community works hard to support local business, Time Out Market Montreal and Time Out Montreal continue to uplift independent local restaurants and businesses through initiatives such as Time Out’s Love Local Campaign.

    Laurent Ruffier-Lanche, General Manager of Time Out Market Montréal, said: “We encourage the Montréal community to support local businesses that are able to remain open through take-out and delivery. Our Time Out Market chefs and restaurateurs are amongst the best of the city, and many of our restaurateurs offer home deliveries and gift cards. Now is the time to support the beloved staples in our community.”

    Time Out Market brings the best of the city under one roof: its best chefs, drinks and cultural experiences. The world’s first food and cultural Market based wholly on editorial curation, Time Out Market captures decades of local knowledge, independent reviews and expert opinions. Everything that is being offered in Time Out Market must have been tested and tasted and finally selected by independent Time Out journalists.

    The first Time Out Market opened in 2014 in a historic market hall in Lisbon and quickly turned into a huge success with 4.1 million visitors in 2019. This unique format, which is all about making high-quality fine food affordable and accessible, is now coming to other great cities around the world as the company is rolling out Time Out Market globally. Time Out Market Miami opened in May 2019, followed in the same month by Time Out Market New York, in June 2019 by Time Out Market Boston and in November 2019 by Time Out Market Montréal and Time Out Market Chicago. Also in the pipeline are Dubai, Porto, London-Waterloo and Prague (the sites in Montréal, Dubai and Prague are the Group’s first management agreements) – all featuring the cities’ best and most celebrated chefs, restaurateurs, drinks and cultural experiences.

    Time Out Market is part of Time Out Group plc, a global media and leisure business that inspires and enables people to explore and enjoy the best of the city. Time Out launched in London in 1968 with a magazine to help people discover the exciting new urban cultures that had started up all over the city. Today, the Group’s digital and physical presence comprises websites, magazines, Live Events and Time Out Markets. Across these platforms, Time Out distributes its curated content – written by professional journalists – around the best food, drink, music, theatre, art, travel and entertainment across 328 cities and in 58 countries. Time Out, listed on AIM, is headquartered in the United Kingdom.

    The Nashen family falls in “LOV” with first dine-in experience since restaurants reopened

      Our first restaurant outing since the pandemic was to Cuisine Botanique LOV in Laval’s trendy Centropolis. While apprehensive about returning to dining out, any tension quickly dissipated as we approached the modern eatery along the wide, car-free boulevard. There we found an airy and very inviting terrasse. We were greeted by the friendly staff who showed us to our outdoor table set-back from other dinner guests.

      By Mike Cohen

      For the past few weeks, my family and I have gone through some major sushi withdrawal. So we were delighted to hear that Ryú Sushi (www.ryusushi.ca) had reopened its Peel and Westmount locations for take-out and delivery.

      Ryú (Japanese for Dragon) is known throughout Montreal for its fresh ingredients and a unique philosophy of respect for the environment and one another.  The place specializes in high-end sustainable sushi.

      Peel is open from Tuesday to Saturday whereas Westmount is open from Thursday to Monday, both with different menus. We decided to order from Peel first; Westmount is penciled in for next week.

      First a little bit about the precautions they are taking during this COVID-19 pandemic.

      With COVID-19 bringing the world to a standstill, the Ryú team wishes to reassure clients that health and safety remain their top priority at both locations. For starters, manager Jorge Da Silva notes that they work with a limited staff: three on the floor and three in the kitchen and it always the same staff to ensure safety. 

      • All staff wear gloves and face masks and disinfect their hands as much as possible;
      • Sanitizers/disinfectants are everywhere on site;
      • All take-out bags are sealed shut;
      • For the client’s safety, there is a vestibule area that separates the clients from staff. Clients enter the vestibule area to pick up their bag, where there are sanitizers all over the place.
      • Orders are  pre-paid and  no contact with staff is necessary;
      • Curbside pick-up is available for clients who request it;

      Ryú has established an employee fund where 70 percent of the sales of gift cards go to these individuals. They are also encouraging people to donate to the Montreal Relief Workers Fund, which has thus far raised over $80,000 for those in need in the industry. Ryú has   also created a short private import list of wine/sake, for which prices are reduced by 35 percent.

      Our Dining Experience

      It is hard to believe that the Ryú team just recently introduced this process for that have nailed it effectively in every category possible. To say we were impressed is an understatement!  For a ranking out of 10, I would have to give them an 11.

      I requested for my order to be ready for 5:45 pm and opted for the curbside pickup option. Already bestowed with a loyal clientele, I could see that this formula has caught on. There were a number of cars in front of me. Some people went directly inside, where a staffer asked their name and pointed to the large white bag they could carry out. Others just called or sent a text from outside the door and a staffer came out immediately and placed the bag in the trunk or the back seat.

      When I got home we opened the bag to find two beautifully packaged boxes with all of the food, some extra soy sauce and of course chopsticks. Everything was fresh. If I closed my eyes and merely ate the food, I could believe I was sitting in their Peel Street dining room. This was not your typical take-out order that a half hour after picking it up still tasted like it came directly from the kitchen.

      We started off with something new for us at Ryú, the Classic Poke, containing tuna, cucumber edamame, wakame, papaya, tobiko, shallots, green onion, furikake, crispy noodles, sesame seeds, togarashi, nori and classic sauce. I am new to Poke, but this was the perfect way to get an amazing meal  underway.

      At Ryú we always look forward to the nigiri and sashimi platters. They are based on their Chef’s choice of daily arrivals of fresh Oceanwise fish which may consist of bio salmon, big eye tuna, hamachi, albacore tuna and when in season, Japanese sourced fish.

      The platters were served in a large and attractive box, with neat dividers.

      Nigiri is a specific type of sushi consisting of a slice of raw fish over pressed vinegar rice. Our platter of 12 consisted of two pieces each of albacore, sustainable salmon, ebi shrimp, big eye tuna, hamachi (yellow tail) and scallop.

      Unlike ordinary tunas, albacore also contains more omega 3 fatty acids. This makes it a healthier food choice that is good for one’s heart and even fights certain types of cancer. These fatty acids actually increase the total fat content and the calorie value of the product.  Albacore has a non- metallic and a non-fishy taste compared to regular tuna. It is said to have the lightest flesh, not to mention, the mildest tuna flavor around. The sustainable salmon, made from fished or farmed sources that can be maintained or whose future production does not significantly jeopardize the ecosystems, is so good I could have eaten a dozen pieces on my own. Ebi is one of the most common ingredients in Japanese cuisine and outstanding as a piece of nigari.  Found in the open waters of all tropical and temperate oceans, big eye tuna is another addictive piece.  Then came hamachi, also known as the yellow tail. It is included in a group of sushi fish called the “Big Three Yellow tails.” They consist of yellowtail and amberjack. These three fishes are classed as a luxury fish. They are all related, and similar in nature, but the yellowtail is considered the most valuable. Finally, I have always been a fan of scallops in any formation-, especially nigiri.

      For the sashimi we ordered a platter of 24.It looked like so much to eat, but between the three of us it went so quickly!

      Then came  time  to choose from the specialty maki part of the  menu. We opted  for  California Dream (salmon tartare, crabstick, cucumber, tempura, tobiko, soy  paper, spicy mayo and apricot), six pieces;  Paradise, a big favorite  of ours (salmon tartare, avocado, tempura, soy paper, sesame oil and sweet sauce), six pieces; Hamachi Baby (Hamachi, avocado, green onion,, nori, spicy mayo), six pieces: and Ryú rainbow (tuna, salmon, cucumber, wakame, tempura, soy paper, rice paper, spicy mayo and basil mayo), eight  pieces.

      It was a superb culinary experience and the huge bonus is that we had leftovers to enjoy the following day. We did order dessert, but plan to do so for our follow-up meal at Westmount.

      To enjoy the Ryú experience in the comfort of your own home, go to ryusushi.ca or from one of their delivery partners: Uber Eats or DoorDash. They also accept orders by text (514-587-3244)/phone (514-446-1468) seven days a week/as early as 9 am.  You can follow the restaurant at https://www.instagram.com/ryu.sushi.

      Ryú is located at  1474  Peel Street.