Fabled Thursday's bar-restaurant to close this fall
Published Saturday, May 19, 2012 6:35PM EDT
MONTREAL - Thursday's, a longtime bar and restaurant institution on Crescent Street has been sold and will close this fall.
"It's been two generations that came through this beautiful establishment, which I love very much. I opened this in 1973, I'm very proud of myself and I did the best I could," Bernard Ragueneau Thursday's longtime and now former owner.
The trigger was not an easy one to pull, he admits.
"I told myself if I sell, I'll regret it. If I don't sell, I'll regret it all my life. So, damned if you do and damned if you don't, right?" he asked.
The future of the greystone building the bar occupies on the east-side of the bar strip is not yet officially determined, as developers Selfridges, which is owned by the Weston family of Loblaw's fame, is currently in the process of seeking approval for a giant condo and hotel plan.
The Maison Ogilvy plan, as its called, would also add an extra floor to Ogilvy's and also call for the demolition of the Thursday's-adjacent 30-year-old Hotel de la Montagne, which Rageuneau also owned.
The proposed development requires several readings and possible local plebiscites.
Ragueneau took over the bar and hotel after his longtime partner Herman Lindy split in the late 1980s.
And it has been a hit ever since.
"I love the atmosphere, the people watching, the ambiance, the food is great, everything, it brings me happiness," said faithful client Paula Baker.
Enthusiastic testimonials were not hard to come by.
"We've been coming here Saturday lunch forever and we're very sad that Thursday's is closing, said Anna Choran.
"There's nothing like this in Montreal, especially the decor of the restaurant. I think it's a shame they're closing it. I think they should try to preserve the restaurant as part of a Montreal heritage property," said Irvin Choran.
The restaurant is decked out in a hodge-podge of items Rageuneau bought around the world.
This fall he will offer every item in an auction and donate the proceeds to Ste. Justine's Hospital.
The decision is tough on some longtime employees, including a waiter who has served 26-years in the venerable institution.
"This is my home. I spend more time here than my home," said waiter Antonio Arouz, who is one of about 250 employees at the bar and Hotel de la Montagne to be let go.