Boxermans is a small but superb bistro that opened on Van Horne Street in June 2017, and it is proving to be a great addition to the neighborhood.
Take three young entrepreneurs who « want to become a small local bistro, accessible to everyone at any time of the day » and you have Boxermans, the successful project from Jade Fortin, Eric Berlin and Sean Murray Smith. And in our view, it’s a very attractive space.
Boxermans is casual eating in a space with about 40 seats, and it has been thoughtfully designed by our friend Kyle Adams Goforth. This is an open room with one wall of exposed red bricks providing a pop of colour against what is otherwise much surrounding white, including the white-painted tin tiles on the ceiling. There is a beautiful waterfall table made of dark marbled stone in the middle for 10, and additional ochre-coloured banquette seating that ties in with the tone of the wooden floors. Some lighting has also been cleverly installed on the ceiling to follow the contours of the coffee and bar counters. The result is elegant and fashionable yet not in the least pretentious, and there is a feeling of warmth and comfort. In the summer, the Boxermans also opens up their terrace with about 30 more seats at the back, which certainly offers a unique view of some of the industrial surroundings.
Boxermans is the name of Eric’s grandmother and back in the day, his grandfather had called his own convenience store after her family. Eric has paid hommage to this by calling their bistro Boxermans. Ironically, enough, the convenience store was located down the street. Why Outremont, and why Van Horne? « We live in the neighborhood and when we were first looking for a place to have a bite to eat or a cup of coffee, we couldn’t find anywhere that was good and reasonably priced. We’re taking a chance over the next few years, but we think there’s really good potential in the area.
Chef Sean (Deux singes de Montarvie) is in charge of the menu which changes with the seasons. Boxermans is open in the mornings, serving coffees from De Mello Palheta Coffee but there are also fresh juices, sparkling water and soft drinks to choose from. For breakfast, they also serve tartines from Boulangerie Guillaume, fruit bread and goat cheese with honey, a lunch sandwich or viennoiseries from Pâtisserie Lescurier and Boulangerie Cheskies.
For lunch and dinner, there is a short menu, proposing small and delicate plates to share. Choose from a cold soup, stuffed zucchini flowers, beef and beet tartare, smoked char with spinach, Provençal tomatoes, endive salad, a lunch sandwich and Snowdon salad with mussels & fries. There are a number of side dishes as well : charcuteries, mussels, char, herrings with potato salad, cheese & bread, marinated cucumbers or beets, olives, and mushrooms. We enjoyed the potatoes and lunch sandwich that are served both at breakfast and lunch. The charcuteries, cheeses and small mussels are also very good, but the succulent endive salad, Provençal tomatoes and stuffed zucchini were our favourites. With this very affordable menu, the restaurant is one of Montreal’s best cheap eats!
Jade is resonsible for the wine selections and we discovered some nice bottles among the whites, sparklings, rosés and reds that also feature interesting small producers. Boxermans also proposes a dozen cocktails, created by Jade and Eric, plus apéritifs and digestifs. A variety of beers and ciders is also available.
« We are really happy with everything. Kyle has done an excellent job with the interior design and there’s this really warm ambiance that everyone is enjoying. It’s unpretentious, just nice, and when you walk in here, you feel good! » Boxermans is one of our most beautiful cafes in Montreal. We too, like the decor and the affordable menu and the wonderful wine list, and what’s not to like about these young, motivated owners ? We wish them all the success they deserve.