About our correspondent: Loretta Di Vita seeks out new restos, cafes, and shops around her native Montreal that stoke her fascination for design. According to her, we’re all looking for premium product, but the space and concept of an establishment are what makes the experience.

“Pinch me―I must be dreaming.”

Stand across the street, squint enough to block out the corner ARRÊT sign, and you’ll think you’re in Brooklyn―not Griffintown.

“It’s a Brooklyn shell, with a Manhattan vibe,” says personable Luc Laroche, co-owner of Le Richmond restaurant and its baby brother, Le Marché Italien―a bistro-food and homeware emporium connected next door.

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From then to now.

“My childhood friend Paul Soucie was a chef at a Mont Royal resto, seeking a business endeavour. Together we bought the restaurant where he worked and partnered to establish this.

 

“This” is 11,400-plus square feet of “prime-prime-prime” real estate in West Griffintown. Gastronomy, atmosphere and linear design come together so masterfully that the result defies the exhausting planning and effort behind it all.

“I lived here,” says Laroche, recalling the “rejuvenation” of the “beyond-abandoned” 125-year-old industrial space―ex-frozen food warehouse, previously knitting house and, before that, power house.

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Passersby may not even notice that the discreet corner property houses two stunning restaurants. But that doesn’t faze Laroche…at least not anymore. “Before opening Le Richmond in November ’13, we worried that our location away from the main drag in Griffintown would render us invisible, but it turned out to be a plus”―drawing an average of 1,200 customers per week.

“Customers appreciate our exclusive club environment.” The Marché―a neighbourhood haunt and more casual alternative, introduced June ’15, is hopping too.

Keeping it real. “I designed it all with me in mind,” says Laroche. The well-traveled once-retail executive knows a thing or two about comfort and luxury, transferring his standards of hotel hospitality to the restaurant experience. Chucking the “tired” industrial trend, he’s gone a multi-influence, contemporary luxe-organic route. Example: the Marché’s custom mix of sparkly chandeliers, marble-topped counters, black and white mosaic flooring and vintage bar stools.

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Salvaged materials were used throughout, and any reproductions are right on-point. Added-on exterior bricks replicate original ones, and some tables are made of―get this―shipwreck-recovered wood from Thailand. The hemlock grooved floors were engineered, cut and grid in Montreal to “look like they’ve always been here.” A lush retreat from Le Richmond’s main two-level dining space, the “interior garden” is completely covered by a retractable roof. The elongated bar would be the room’s focal point if not for a huge graffiti-collage of slithery supermodel Kate Moss vying for attention. “I didn’t want it on canvas,” (nah, that’s too ordinary) “so it’s painted on folded metal pieces to match the kitchen fire door.”

 

A photo posted by lerichmondmtl (@lerichmondmtl) on

 

“The view from here”

Yep, Laroche conceptualized every detail. “Each nail is the way I wanted it.” Anything he can’t take credit for? A star-speckled summertime sky hanging over the open roof.

More info : lerichmond.com

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Loretta Di Vita
Montreal Correspondent

Loretta Di Vita seeks out new restos, cafés, and shops around her native Montreal that stoke her fascination for design. According to her, we’re all looking for premium product, but the space and concept of an establishment are what makes the experience.