The Acacia Brothers: the dynamic duo of Piklìz

If you’ve ever had the pleasure of discovering Piklìz, you know you’re greeted with unparalleled warmth and friendliness. Opened in 2019, the small restaurant in Saint-Henri quickly established itself as a must-visit for Caribbean cuisine in Montreal. Always bustling, Pikliz perfectly reflects the bond between two passionate brothers: Akim and Abdel Acacia.

«C’est one love, comme la perle des Antilles mon clan brille» – Muzion

Akim and Abdel, both born in Montreal to Haitian parents, grew up in an environment steeped in cultural diversity. As the children of educators, they moved frequently to different neighborhoods in Montreal, which deeply influenced their adaptability and enriched their intercultural exchanges. “We grew up in various neighborhoods, surrounded by friends from diverse cultural backgrounds,” explain the two young entrepreneurs.

Music, especially hip-hop, played a fundamental role in their upbringing. “It was my older brother Akim who introduced me to my two passions: music and cooking,” recounts Abdel, now the chef at Piklìz. Music holds a central place at Piklìz, reflecting the inherited passion from their father, a music enthusiast who owned a CD store in Haiti. Their love for rhythm is innate.

«Ayiti cheri se ou’k bam lavi» – Tabou Combo

The numerous trips to Haiti deeply marked the two brothers, shaping their identity and passion for their home country. Their father, a great lover of cuisine, also influenced them by regularly preparing homemade dishes. When he decided to settle in Haiti in 1997, the two young men accompanied him to live there for an entire year, an experience that brought them closer to their roots. “Haiti may seem modest materially, but its cultural richness is invaluable, and that has deeply impacted us,” emphasizes Akim.

Over the years, Akim nurtured the dream of opening a small B&B in Haiti, an ambition he successfully realized, introducing this gem of the Antilles to Quebecers traveling to the island. Meanwhile, in Montreal, Abdel cultivated his love for cooking by starting a small catering business from home. He shared his homemade dishes with his circle and quickly achieved success. “My brother and I spent so much time cooking together; he helped me adapt my recipes and twist the flavors of my dishes. He’s the one who really sparked my interest,” proudly recounts Abdel.

When the political situation in Haiti became complicated, Akim returned to Montreal, keeping intact his desire to share his culture. He managed to convince his brother to organize a pop-up event at Parc Angrignon. To their great surprise, the event attracted a large and enthusiastic crowd, confirming the public’s interest in their creations. “We really didn’t expect it to go so well. People kept telling us we should open a restaurant, and when the opportunity arose, we had no choice but to seize it.” Thus, the self-taught brothers decided to realize their dream by opening the restaurant we know today: Piklìz.

“We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished with the restaurant; it wasn’t easy at the beginning. We quickly gained success, and we weren’t really prepared for that. People weren’t sure about our concept, and we faced criticism at the beginning, but today the vision we had for the restaurant has really materialized,” explain the two entrepreneurs.

The restaurant faithfully embodies the spirit of the brothers, a blend of Haitian flavors and modern culinary techniques. “It was important that the dishes be prepared with quality ingredients.” Piklìz is a true homage to their heritage and memories, with each dish telling their story and taking guests on a unique journey, tinged with nostalgia and authenticity. Despite the obstacles, they succeeded in creating an unparalleled experience that skillfully combines tradition and innovation. The Acacia brothers are true role models for future generations.

Wishing you continued success in the future!

Photography by Alison Slattery

From the magazine