Pop-ups bring excitement and variety to Montreal's restaurant scene


The menu and moment is there, and then it’s gone.

If you didn’t catch the post on socials or read a caption closely enough, you probably missed it.

Whether they’re creating buzz for a new restaurant or for cultural and creative exchanges between chefs, pop-ups represent a vibrant — even essential — part of dining culture in Montreal.

Pop-ups — temporary and sometimes ticketed events where restaurants and bars host other businesses in their space — are far from a novel concept. But the ephemeral events have drawn crowds and laid foundational groundwork for many of the city’s best and brightest restaurants to announce, establish and invigorate themselves.

Before becoming a fine-dining destination in Westmount, Bistro La Franquette began as the pop-up Baby Duck, a dining series of concept-driven, one-night-only meals. It has an address now, but pop-ups and events are in its DNA and the restaurant hosts at least one a month.

“It’s an advantage for us and our staff to engage with other types of restaurants within the same space, to turn the restaurant into a bar or a place for 10-course tasting menus,” says La Franquette co-owner Renée Deschenes, who points to recent events they hosted with local names like Otto Yakitori and Île Flottante, as well as the Ottawa restaurant Perch.

La Franquette chef Louie Deligianis says pop-ups are key to both the restaurant and the dining scene at large.

“The dynamic in Montreal’s dining culture between restaurants needs to get going, get charged, and this is a way to do that,” he says. “I want to make sure that Franquette is an important piece of the Montreal scene, so how do you add something to the city? Pop-ups are a way to do that.”