Iconic Le 9e at the Centre Eaton is reopening in May

The legendary restaurant on the 9th floor of Montreal’s Eaton Centre, a treasure of Art Deco architecture with timeless elegance, will officially reopen its doors in May. The space will feature a restaurant, a performance hall, private rooms, and more.

In a few weeks, Le 9e will officially reopen to the public. Starting in May, Montrealers and visitors from around the world will be able to immerse themselves once again in the frenzy of the early 1900’s by visiting this timeless place of great elegance, such as the metropolis has rarely known.

Abandoned since the bankruptcy of Eaton’s department stores in 1999, Le 9e and its restaurant, Île-de-France, were designated as heritage properties the following year due to their magnificent Art Deco architecture, the work of French architect Jacques Carlu, recognized as one of the masters of the genre. On the Quebec Cultural Heritage website, it can be read: “Today, the restaurant of the former Eaton store is considered one of the most successful examples of Art Deco style in Montreal and Quebec. Furthermore, it still retains the appearance it had when it opened in 1931. Most of the original materials have been preserved, including the oak and walnut marquetry floor of the fireplace and the marbles of the pillars and walls.”

La Grande Salle in 1931

For history buffs, it’s also said that the 9th floor was among the few “public places for female sociability” in the mid-20th century. At that time, department stores often featured with restaurants, performance halls, and rest areas to attract customers. After finishing their shopping at the Eaton Centre, customers could dine on the 9th floor and attend fashion shows in the foyer-promenade.

A timeless culinary experience

The magnificent 120-seat restaurant will be revived under its original name, Île-de-France. Like a movie set, the elegant interior has been meticulously restored in its original spirit by EVOQ Architecture, a firm specializing in the preservation of historic buildings. Le 9e floor will also feature two private dining rooms, a cocktail bar, and an events and performance hall, La Grande Salle.

Le 9e has assembled a seasoned team to ensure that the culinary experience reflects the refinement and elegance of the venue. Liam Hopkins (Hopkins, McKiernan, Park) will serve as the executive chef of the Île-de-France restaurant, under the culinary direction of Derek Daman, who closed down his restaurant Maison Publique last year and sold his shares in McKiernan’s to fully dedicate himself to this new project. The power trio is completed by Marco Gucciardi (Bar George, Burgundy Lion, Milos), who takes on the role of operations director. The menu will offer modernized versions of dishes from the original restaurant. As a nostalgic touch, dessert and cocktail carts will once again ride between the tables, as they did in the past. Reservations for dinner will begin in May, followed by lunches later on. La Grande Salle will host various events, exhibitions, performances, celebrations, and business meetings.

“We are the guardians of this hall, but the hall belongs to Montrealers. The 9th floor is a love letter to the city of Montreal,” said Jeff Baikowitz, co-owner of the Joe Beef group, the businessman behind the resurrection of the 9th floor, who has also surrounded himself with Andy Nulman, co-founder of Just For Laughs, event designer Madeleine Kojakian, and the collective Les 7 Doigts.

Le 9e in short

  • The original lounge will house an intimate restaurant surrounded by magnificent Silver and Gold private dining rooms. These rooms, adorned with ceilings and walls decorated with golden and silver leaves, can each accommodate up to 20 people.
  • The restaurant will accommodate 120 people and will bear its original name, Île-de-France.
  • An events and performance hall with a capacity of 250 to 400 people, La Grande Salle, will be available for rental for events, exhibitions, performances, and business meetings.
  • A sophisticated cocktail bar will complement the renovated heritage space.

Photography by le 9e et Patrimoine Culturel

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