Eric Dénommée spent years working in Montreal’s most renowned restaurants and learning from some of our city’s finest chefs. In August 2015, he opened Pizzeria Melrose with his partner, Paolo Olivera, and it was an almost instantaneous success, quickly becoming one of the most popular spots in NDG.
Your restaurant has a very interesting look.
This is a historic place. For over 50 years, the building we’re in was a furrier, a place where people bought and stored their fur coats over the summer. In the back of the restaurant there’s a vault where they used to keep all the coats because they were very valuable and they needed to be stored at a certain temperature. We took out all the racking that was back there and we installed an art gallery. We’ve done four or five vernissages since December and we’ve got another artist coming in this month.
What made you choose such an unusual location?
I’ve known my partner, Paolo, for over 20 years. He lives in the neighbourhood and he saw that the space was for rent. He thought it would be a good spot for a restaurant, so he called me to ask my opinion and the minute I saw the space I knew that a pizzeria would be a perfect fit for the location and for the neighbourhood. There’s something really special about this place. It has a great vibe and the customers feel it as soon as they walk through the door. It’s just a really nice place to be.
I guess that has a lot to do with your vision and the people you work with.
Absolutely. I went to cooking school but that’s not where you learn to be a chef. You have to work hard and gain the experience and confidence that the job requires. I was lucky enough to learn from the best, but this is really a passion. Pizza is very serious business in Montreal.
We wanted an open kitchen concept, a simple menu, just a couple of hot and cold appetizers. Paolo and I are friendly, outgoing people and that’s what we look for in all the people we hire, whether it’s the front or the back of the house. We also have a very friendly, very loyal clientele who settled in almost from the moment we opened, so we’re very happy about that.
Pizzeria Melrose is located at 5779 Sherbrooke Ouest in NDG.
Writer: Robbie Dillon