Laurier BBQ’s Last Days
The rumors have been going around for months surrounding the fate of Laurier BBQ, one of Montreal’s oldest dining establishments. Opened in 1936 by the Laporte family, it was the first restaurant to serve rotisserie chicken. A family-run business through out three generations, Laurier BBQ reached the pinnacle of its success in the 1970s and 1980s with continuous lineups and celebrity visits amongst them Pierre-Elliot Trudeau who’s particular request included the coconut meringue pie.
Unfortunately, the restaurant has experienced a steady decline in the last 20 years. Laurier BBQ seems to not have been able to adapt to the varying changes of the clients’ wants. The lack of reinvention of the menu and the decor impacted negatively on its customer loyalty. This lack of adaptation also led to a significant reduction of the staff where once there was 25 waitresses and 17 delivery drivers, the restaurant now only counts 5-7 waitresses and 8 drivers.
The name of Laurier BBQ started resurfacing a few months when rumors spread that the infamous Gordon Ramsay had purchased the Montreal institution. All wondered how this story would unfold. The truth is that he and another private investor, Dany Levy, are part of this venture to revitalize Laurier BBQ but the new faces representing it are Marie-Christine Couture and Danielle Lord.
The restaurant officially closed it’s doors April 19th, 2011 and is scheduled to reopen in June. There has been 48 employees that have been let go but the owners seem to say that some of the staff might be coming back. Couture and Lord would like to keep the essence of the restaurant but to also attract a younger clientele that have never stepped foot into the establishment. Some wonder if it will become another trendy “St-Laurent” hot spot but the owners assure the public that Laurier BBQ will welcome all generations who desire tasty chicken leaving their social status at the door.