Québécois Designers Share Their Favorite Montreal Haunts
Québécois designers Byron and Dexter Peart have achieved cult fashion status—thanks to a suave line of utilitarian travel accessories called Want Les Essentiels de la Vie, hit collaborations with J. Crew and New York’s NoMad hotel, and three smartly curated lifestyle boutiques across Canada. Here, the twin brothers share their favorite hometown haunts.
Eat + Drink
“If someone comes to town and wants a local experience,” Byron says, “we send them to Grumman ’78,” where sophisticated takes on Mexican classics—bánh mì tacos; escargot quesadillas—are served in a converted garage off the tourist track in St.-Henri. “We head there at least once a month and had our fortieth birthday there,” Dexter says. “The pulled pork melts in your mouth.”
The Italian comfort food at Nora Gray “is what you want to eat in the winter when you’re hibernating,” Byron says about the low-felderkey Griffintown trattoria, which specializes in Sicilian-spiced grilled meats and pastas with seafood sourced from the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
Le Serpent is a new, unmarked bistro in Darling Foundry, a metal factory turned contemporary art space in Old Montreal. “It has an industrial feel, but they’ve done a nice job of making it modern and accessible,” Byron says. “Save room for the black velvet chocolate cake,” Dexter adds.
After work at their studio in Parc Extension, the brothers often stop by Little Burgundy’s Le Vin Papillon, which pours obscure wines. “The communal picnic benches make it feel like a friend’s backyard,” Byron says.
For men’s wear, Michel Brisson is the spot. “He carries major designer brands like Dries Van Noten and Jil Sander,” Byron says of the sleek boutique in Outremont.
Ssense “has a vision on par with some of the best retailers in the world,” Dexter says. The international mix of street- smart and hard- to-find labels gives it a “Montreal vibe.”
High-end housewares store Les Touilleurs “is very edited,” Byron says. “They sort of walk you through the joy of cooking,” carrying a concise selection, ranging from Rösle cooking utensils to pepper mills made from fallen maple-tree branches.
The Pearts’ own shop, Want Apothecary, is “curated from our visits around the world,” Byron says, and includes handpicked pieces from such brands as Acne, Byredo, and Maison Kitsuné.
To relax, the brothers get massages at Hôtel Le St.-James, in Old Montreal, where the stone-walled spa is housed in an erstwhile bank vault. “It’s a luxury we take advantage of often,” Dexter says with a laugh.
When they’re feeling active, they head to nearby Parc Jean-Drapeau. “We go regularly to run and ride bikes,” Byron says. On the way home, they drop by the poissonnerie, butcher, and florist in Atwater Market, a block away from Lachine Canal.