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Dinette Triple Crown: a tasty Southern trip in Little Italy
Dinette Triple Crown features American Southern cuisine. Open for a few years now, the restaurant is one of our favourite addresses in town.
Chef Collin Perry is from Kentucky and always knew he wanted to open a restaurant that would showcase the cuisine of the American South, without being too explicit. The name Triple Crown is a nod to his roots and home region as it is a famous horse race that takes place in Kentucky. In addition, Nicole Turcotte, his wife, also owned racehorses when she lived in Victoria, British Columbia.
Dinette Triple Crown features Southern American cuisine. Open for a few years now, the restaurant is one of our favourite addresses in town.
Chef Collin Perry is from Kentucky and always knew he wanted to open a restaurant that would nod to the American South, without being too explicit. The name Triple Crown is a nod to his roots and home region as it is a famous horse race that takes place in Kentucky. In addition, Nicole Turcotte, his wife, also owned racehorses when she lived in Victoria, British Columbia.
The restaurateur couple met at the (now closed) Griffintown. Collin played music on Friday nights and Nicole was working as a server. Collin started helping out in the kitchen, then worked at the Chien Fumant, before opening Dinette Triple Crown.
Nicole lived in the neighbourhood and knew that if they opened a restaurant, it would be within walking distance of their home. When they stumbled upon the current location in their neighbourhood, next to the Jean-Talon Market and the SAQ, they saw that the space had all the criteria they wanted. “Our dream was to open a small counter adjacent to a dining room. We never thought we would find the space to do it all at once.”
The goal was always to do Southern cuisine, with a sandwich and meat counter for take-out. So at Dinette Triple Crown, you can savour your meal at the counter (our favourite) or eat in the dining room at large tables so you can share plates with various tasting menu options.
Even better – and certainly one of the reasons the establishment is so popular – you can order your meal and take it out for a picnic to go! So you get not only the whole restaurant experience, but the whole picnic experience as well, as they furnish the wicker basket, checkered tablecloth, cutlery, glasses, etc, all to be enjoyed in the park of your choice. The picnic service is free; but you simply have to return the basket before the end of the day. Also note that Dinette Triple Crown offers the possibility of renting the entire restaurant for 28 people or more (!) therefore making it onto on our list of Montreal establishments where you can rent a private room.
The decor was designed by Nicole, “but Collin obviously approved,” she says. Inspired by the turn of the last century, the space is filled with lots of wood and photographs; you truly feel transported.
Dinette Triple Crown’s menu has several offerings that are well thought out for this type of diner. Firstly, the restaurant offers some of the best fried chicken in town. Secondly, on the meat side, there’s pulled pork and smoked brisket, available as a main dish, side or in a sandwich. Other sides include buttermilk bread, mac n cheese, mashed potatoes and gravy, roasted sweet potatoes, greens, coleslaw, and more. It must be noted that the macaroni and cheese is so delicious that it’s one of our favourites in town.
Another classic is the “Big Nasty”, a famous chicken sandwich adapted to the Dinette, with fried chicken: simply decadent! A little healthier: the house salads and the weekly specials. The latter come back according to their popularity. For dessert, the chocolate pecan pie is a must! The cuisine is generous, delicious and invites you to return.
As for the wines, the list is put together entirely by Théo Diamantis from Oenopole; organic, natural and easy-drinking wines. You’ll also find a cocktail list put together by Nicole; “I knew that catering would be my profession when I started working behind the bar,” she explains. Her cocktails use old-school techniques and are robust. “I want people to be able to sip their drinks, not drink it in a minute; that’s why they all have three ounces of alcohol.” This certainly makes for a festive atmosphere! Note that the house also offers a nice selection of bourbons. On the beer side, they offer several craft beers that pair well with the menu.
What we love about Dinette Triple Crown – apart from their fried chicken – is the atmosphere here. You can feel that the owners put their heart into this establishment and work very hard. At the same time, it is meant to be relaxed and it totally is. The clientele consists mainly of regulars who contribute to the super relaxed ambiance as well. The music is good, the food delicious, the prices reasonable; all this makes the establishment a success.
“We had aspirations, we opened, we made everything ourselves – our tabasco, our bacon, our sausages, the syrups for our cocktails – we control every taste on our menu. We work so hard, we keep our heads down and keep going.”
Also note that the place is closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Good for the restaurant folks, who can enjoy the place on Sundays and Mondays. Why close on Wednesdays? “Collin wanted to keep an evening of music shows that he has been doing for over 20 years on Wednesdays and we took advantage of that to make it our day off!”.
This address highlights the Quebecois terroir with the use of maple in its menu.
Written by Sophie Monkman
Photography by Alison Slattery