Montreal has its depanneur, New York has its bodega. More than a convenience store with extended hours, the latter is a cornerstone of many a Big Apple neighborhood.
Serving coffee and sandwiches, this versatile New York locale acts as a lunch stop for workers, an after-school candy stand for teens and a life-saver for night owls. Hoping to recreate this concept for Montreal is our own Bodega, which has been operating out of Griffintown for about eighteen months now.
The miniscule interior features a two-tone, black-and-white palette with splashes of color stemming from the collection of candy boxes on display. With just enough space to seat a dozen patrons, the setup is conducive to conviviality.
Those seeking conversation are well served on the booths facing the kitchen/cash counter, while anyone trying to get some work done has the option of the bar-height panels by the windows.
A limited menu of two breakfast sandwiches and five more for lunch round up the food offering at Bodega. More sophisticated than your typical NY deli sandwich, the ones here come in a long ciabatta bun and pack a smart list of ingredients. My turkey sammie contained the habitual Swiss, lettuce and tomatoes but also added a creamy/spicy touch thanks to guac and jalapenos.
Although technically an assemblage of store-bought items, this was one fantastic loaded hoagie. If I could change one thing, I would like my bread less toasted next time. This one was so brittle it sent shards of crumbs flying all over the place, not to mention in between my laptop's keyboard buttons – don't tell my employer.
tagged: IS THERE ANOTHER MENU?
Another departure from the authentic Big Apple bodega are the people behind the counter. While in New York one can expect to be served by the store's middled-aged immigrant owner; here staff is the young, tattooed, indoor-beanie-wearing kind.
That is not to say they failed to recreate the communal spirit of the "shop around the corner". They clearly knew many of the clients by name and felt at ease with them. Add to that speedy service and the picture is complete.
tagged: IN & OUT
Although diminutive in size, this Griffintown locale can serve many purposes. Be it to grab a sandwich on the go, hang out and/or work over a cup of coffee, stock up on some sweets or enjoy the patio in the summer, Bodega seems to be serving its neighbors well.
I'll be sure to drop by again and try another sammie the next time I'm around – y'all know I need more than one try to award a final verdict.
tagged: DESERVES A RETRY
Montreal restaurant and bar reviews brought to you by two regular guys who like to eat and drink. We will go anywhere and we will say it like it is.