Laurier BBQ ready to reopen under Gordon Ramsay's banner
MONTREAL - Laurier BBQ – a 75-year-old institution – is getting a jolt of new blood.
Notoriously foul-mouthed celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay is taking over the Laurier Ave. rotisserie chicken joint and making it his own, while still maintaining some of the core elements that made the restaurant popular for so many years.
Many of the 65 staff at the new restaurant are holdovers from the older version, and the desserts that regulars at Laurier BBQ used to love will remain on the menu.
"The inspiration was carrying on the same theme that was previously customary here," said Ramsay's hand-picked executive chef Guillermo Russo. "So we're doing family style dining in a family setting."
Still, there will be some new additions that draw on traditional Montreal food that falls outside the realm of rotisserie chicken. There will be poutine, smoked salmon on bagels from the nearby St-Viateur bagel shop, and a Montreal spin on a classic from the southern U.S.
"So this brisket was steamed for about two hours, and we're going to pull it apart and make some macaroni and cheese with smoked meat in classic Montreal fashion," Russo explained.
The main dining area can seat 170 people, but the restaurant now has a new bar and wine cellar, and the upper area that has been closed for 15 years will be available for private parties.
The menu has been kept reasonable, with the most expensive appetizer – a roasted chicken salad – running for $16 and the steak frites being the most expensive main course at $26.
With Ramsay's name on the front of the building – and his face splashed on TV screens everywhere on shows like Hell's Kitchen, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and The F Word – the new restaurant is sure to be popular when it officially opens its doors Wednesday.
"We want to attract them all," said Danielle Lord, a partner in the restaurant, "and with a name like Gordon Ramsay outside--we're going to attract them all."