The names Olive and Gourmando sound familiar to many Montrealers. Indeed, the mythical coffee, sandwich and pastry counter opened its doors 18 years ago on St. Paul Street in Old Montreal. Even after all these years, “luxury snacks” commonly known as “Chez Olive” have never lost their authenticity and have only gained in popularity. It was only natural that one day the owners decided to open a second establishment. The regulars at Olive would undoubtedly follow.
Foxy is the name of the owners’ dog.
Open secret: Olive and Gourmando are the names of the cats belonging to owners Eric Girard and Dyan Solomon. Recently, Foxy, the second place started by the duo behind Olive, opened in the very trendy area of Griffintown. Following the trend of Olive and Gourmando, Foxy is the name of the owners’ dog. Why change a winning formula?
The restaurant had just opened a on a Tuesday evening in December, yet it was full. The manager, Mary, whom we recognize from Olive and Gourmando, welcomes guests dressed in camouflage pants and a cap bearing the Foxy image; a cap also worn by the majority of the dining room staff. The waiters’ casual look puts us immediately at ease. The restaurant is dark and majestic, yet is highly-designed. We like the contrast and balance between the two. As soon as you enter you fall under Foxy’s spell.
“I’m here 5 nights a week, explains Marie, the manager at Foxy. Since opening, there hasn’t been one night we weren’t full. We’re very happy to be such an instant success, it was really a great surprise!”
When asked whether we’ll see her back at Olive and Gourmando, Mary confirms that we won’t. Her wonderful adventure at Olive is over, and she is now officially and exclusively at Foxy.
Dyan Solomon, the owner, admits she “stole some people from Olive to build the Foxy team, maybe half. It was agood base for finding reliable people she could trust. Otherwise, everyone is new,” she says.
For example, Genevieve, the mixologist serving customers at the bar (the best seats!), speaks of cocktails as if they were the 8th wonder of the world. She is passionate and exciting, as are all the staff at Foxy. After working five years at Lemeac, then Chicago and New York as a mixologist consultant, she started working at Foxy when it opened. Lucky us, as she conceived and planned an imaginative and colorful cocktail menu. Hard to resist ordering a drink.
Geneviève, the restaurant’s mixologist, has an imaginative and colorful cocktail menu waiting for you! Hard to resist!
The menu is a bit short but there’s something for everyone. The portions are generous, the flavors work and you definitely taste the talented Solomon-Girard duo on each plate.
The most surprising and inventive dishes?
The beet salad and winter salad (surprisingly). Even so, as the owner quickly confesses, the menu has a lot of vegetables, fish and meat, all cooked on the grill.
The portions are generous, the flavors work and you definitely taste the talented Solomon-Girard duo on each plate.
Foxy is a bit like Olive, only at night. Indeed, Olive is only open during the day, while Foxy is only open in the evening. Thus both restaurants complement each other perfectly.
Why choose Griffintown for this dinner restaurant?
“I just moved into the neighborhood, says Solomon. I used to live near Chez Olive, but I needed to create a distance between my personal life (home) and my professional life (restaurant). Now I’m not too far from either of the two restaurants, just enough to have my space. “
In the dining room, designed by none other than designer Zebulon Perron, you’ll find several high tables, benches and a lot of wood and raw materials. Foxy’s dog photos are also all over the dining room to accentuate the ‘forested’ style that goes so well with the restaurant.
“When we opened Olive and Gourmando, Eric and I were so young and we had no idea how to name the restaurant, so we chose the name of our two cats. For us, it was natural to continue on the path that made us successful. Our second restaurant is thus called Foxy. My dog was there for the opening of the restaurant. I sat him on the bench, but honestly he really didn’t seem too impressed; in fact I don’t think he wanted anything to do with it, Solomon says, laughing.”
Foxy is the new gourmet address to try in Griffintown. Open five nights a week, from Tuesday to Saturday, a great place for a romantic evening, you can eat at the bar or take a table with friends, all under the disinterested gaze of Foxy the dog.
1638, Notre-Dame Street West, Montreal