A Passion for Plaza Antique – Full Restaurant to events
Plaza Antique – Montreal is bursting with passionate people making our city better one song, art piece, or plate of food at a time. Franco Gagliano, co-owner and chef, and his team at Plaza Antique are some of those people.
Gagliano’s time at Plaza Antique dates to long before his partnership. “I’ve been here as long as some of the furniture,” he joked. He landed his first job at Plaza Antique at age fourteen. “I worked here as a bus boy, kitchen help, and a waiter. Many years later I came back as a chef. This was the place I kept gravitating to. It has always been a part of my life.”
When the opportunity to combine his passion for cooking and his lifelong dream of ownership presented itself, Gagliano jumped at the chance. “I know the business. I know the ins and outs of the building,” he said. Gagliano and his business partners purchased Plaza Antique in 2006. The 1200-person space was a dream project with potential.
In the years since acquiring Plaza Antique, the owners have expanded, revamped, and even opened a full restaurant in 2016. Plans for a second location in Quebec’s countryside are nearing reality—including a private vineyard. Despite his increased to-do list, “I still come to work and get down and dirty with everybody else.”
A Passionate Team
Franco Gagliano credits Plaza Antique’s success to his team. “This is by no means a solo project,” he said. “I have amazing people with me. I am only as strong as my team, and I have a great team.”
Working in the service industry requires long hours that often include peak times most spend with family. “I spend more time with my team than I do with my own family,” he said. On day with no events scheduled, Gagliano clocks out around 5:00pm. However, Plaza Antique is rarely not busy. “When we have events, my day doesn’t end until there is nothing left to serve.” Weekends are an entirely different story, including longer hours in the kitchen.
The same is true for his co-owners. “The number of hours that we put in—you can only do if you love it. Otherwise, you would never do it.” Together, their dedication has earned the respect of both their employees and their guests.
Despite their expansions, no amount of money makes Gagliano and his partners’ jobs rewarding—instead, it is their individual passion that keeps them going. It is the feedback they receive from guests after a job well done. “At the end of the day, our satisfaction is a job well done,” he said. “I won’t do something that I am not proud of. I won’t put out something that I am not happy with.”
The managing team meets weekly to review the week’s events and feedback. Gagliano loves to pass the positive response along to his employees.
The Fuel for Franco’s Passion
When Gagliano isn’t working, he spends as much time as possible with his family. “I have an amazing family,” he said. “They fuel my passion.” His “out of this world” wife and three kids understand his busy schedule. They make time together on Sundays and Mondays more often than typical weekends. His strong support system at home makes it possible to put his passion on the plates at Plaza Antique every day.
The Plaza Experience
Plaza Antique offers full-service event venues from corporate through to weddings. Their packages are customizable to meet each guest’s needs. “We do what the customer wants,” Gagliano said. “There is no limit. That is the challenge: Doing it, and doing it well.”
Their six rooms accommodate anywhere between twenty and 500 people. There is a rooftop terrace, dance floors, endless linens, conference equipment, and sound systems. “We have different looks for different types of events,” said Gagliano. The event coordinators and team in both the back and front of the house are trained to impress. “We work together and we find a way.”
“We get a lot of good feedback,” Gagliano said. A lot of guests return to Plaza Antique expecting an experience unlike any other. Some returning guests trust Plaza Antique’s staff to organize their events without any direction. “We give more than they expect. That’s our secret to our success.”
Gagliano and his team believe in a hard day’s work, and giving everything they can to their guests. “Your passion is in your hands,” he said. “It’s in everything that you put out. It’s a labour of love. We brought it to life.” They pride themselves in the quality of the experience they provide. No cutting corners; no sacrificing quality for speed.
Feature image: Franco Gagliano flanked by Chef Robert Pietrollino and Partner Giulio Diminno
6086 Sherbrooke St E, Montreal, QC H1N 1C1