As some people might realize, Montreal’s Third Wave coffee scene has been expanding rather rapidly, in the past couple of years. (The Gazoo’s casual dining reporter Sarah Musgrave wrote about just that: http://lar.me/2de )
[If you wonder what I mean by “Third Wave”, here’s the original piece: http://lar.me/3rdwave ]
Thing is, though, most of these cafés are concentrated in a few neighbourhoods in the Plateau borough (including Mile End). It’s easy to understand why Plateau attracts potential café owners. And I don’t think we’ve reached anywhere near a saturation point in the number of cafés in those neighbourhoods. Yet I think there’s quite a bit of room for expansion, in Montreal’s Third Wave coffee scene.
I’ve lived in Petite-Patrie from 1997 to 2007 and moved back in March. It’s a neat neighbourhood and we seem to be at the beginning of a housing bubble. Prices are still much lower than what they’d be in the Plateau, but there’s a clear tendency for prices to increase quite a bit, at least in condos and apartment building. The Jean-Talon market is bringing a crowd which includes a number of chowhounds and foodies. And while there’s an established scene of Italian cafés along with some other independent cafés, there’s no Third Wave café in sight. Sad and somewhat surprising.
Of course, as a friend was pointing out, many other neighbourhoods lack Third Wave cafés: Villeray, NDG, Rosemont… The Village has Pourquoi Pas and Lapin pressé is almost at Papineau, but anything East of there is pretty much an open space for the Third Wave coffee scene. Same thing West of the mountain (and of Café Saint-Henri).
Basically Third Wave coffee spots are concentrated in a very small zone. Here’s a map (counting places which you may or may not consider truly Third Wave): http://lar.me/2eu
Apart from the Laval ArtJava, all other cafés in that list are between Laurier and Notre-Dame and between Papineau and the 15.
Again, I’m not blaming café owners. I understand why they focus on proximity to likely patrons. Besides, it’s not like there’s no interesting coffeeshop outside of the Third Wave.
It’s just that there may be something special about places with Third Wave cafés, the same way that brewpubs have been part of significant changes in several food scenes.
So, if anyone hears anything about Third Wave cafés outside of the perimeter seen on that aforelinked map, I’d be quite interested in learning more about it.