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Depanneur le Pick-up: Montreal’s favourite dépanneur
Le Depanneur le Pick-up is one of those mythical places that so well represents the unique, bohemian and creative side of Montreal.
The small convenience store opened its doors in 2008 and is a precursor to both its concept and its neighbourhood. Depanneur le Pick-up is a bit far from other businesses, hidden in a rather residential neighbourhood on Waverly St, between Alexandra St and Mozart St East. When owners Penny Pattison and Bernie Houde found the convenience store, the Mile-Ex neighbourhood didn’t offer many food choices.
Penny says,”It’s called Depanneur le Pick-up because we liked the sound of the name in both English and French. It was also a pun because you pick up a sandwich, but you can also come here and meet people and “pick up” someone! (laughs) Depanneur le Pick-Up, like its name, is spontaneous and charming.
Penny worked in a company in New York that had no connection to the restaurant business and her partner Bernie worked in a coffee shop. Both lived in the neighbourhood and saw this convenience store, which had been for sale for almost two years. “We thought maybe we could buy a convenience store, and we made an offer. Bernie went on a trip to Morocco and while she was gone, the owners called to say that our offer was accepted! I called her and told her that we were now owners of a convenience store! ”
Initially, without much experience in the restaurant business, the two partners took over the convenience store and for the first six months, didn’t change anything. It was already a convenience store and Penny and Bernie were anxious to keep the existing clientele in the small establishment. They did not want to destabilize it, so the transition was slow. They quietly rebuilt the floors, walls, and added all kinds of artwork to create their own style. “We liked the air of the 60s and 70s in the neighbourhood. We also liked that it belonged to the same owners for so long. The convenience store now has about 20 seats indoors and 20 outside in summer and carries an interesting mix of products and small snacks with unusual colours and contrasts.
After a while, they decided to work on the menu. The convenience store, which was originally a small neighbourhood snack bar, quickly became the place of choice for a larger Montreal clientele interested in the renewed approach of its owners! The menu consisted of burgers and grilled cheese, and over time, some sandwich and salad recipes were added. These include the succulent club sandwich, pulled pork sandwich, the famous halloumi sandwich, breakfast potatoes, homemade spicy mayonnaise, etc. The co-owner says she has a weakness for fattoush salad and summer salad.
All the recipes are simple, very well made and tasty. Le Pick-Up also offers a special of the day and weekend brunches. The homemade pastries are a must to try. You’ll find cookies, squares, cupcakes, pies and cake made every day. We love the quality of the products and the simplicity of the menu! Everything is also very affordable; that’s one of the reasons why you’ll find a very eclectic clientele there, simply to enjoy a good lunch.
“Pick-up is a great place to come to everyday. I think I like all the different people that come here. We really try to make the place really welcoming. We like the fact that everybody from the butcher to construction workers to the young creative’s come here. The place is a crossroad for a lot of different people, and it’s very dynamic! The energy is really nice. ”
What we prefer about Depanneur le Pick-up is the originality and simplicity of the location. We also love the flavours of the products offered here. The Montreal store has a unique charm – a Montreal charm – that is impossible to reproduce. It’s the Pick-up Convenience Store.
Written by Élise Tastet