Mange Moi – Really, you have to…
Mange Moi , Montreal’s best poutine, hands down
By Alyssa De Rosa
Waiting in line for 45 minutes to get your hands on a pulled pork poutine may sound ridiculous to some, but for me it’s a sign that whatever is going on inside the restaurant must be mouth watering.
Mange Moi located at 35 Mont Royal Ave in the Plateau opened its doors in June 2013 by brothers George and Dimitri Karaglanis. George is both the owner and chef while Dimitri takes on all other operations. A duo that have been in the restaurant business since they can remember. “It’s in our blood,” says Dimitri Karaglanis as we sit down and sip on our cappuccino’s together relishing in their Poutine Week victory.
That’s correct, Mange Moi’s pulled pork poutine titled “La Cochonne” received the most votes during La Poutine Week and takes the crown for having the best poutine in Montreal. From experience, the dish was perfect and well worth the wait. The pulled pork was tender and meaty paired with the perfect amount of gravy and cheese – ingredients Karaglanis confirms are all local and organic.
So how did Mange Moi come to be one of the trendiest restaurants in Montreal?
The concept behind it was simple – good food and good people. “We wanted an easier to manage place and not have a restaurant with 30 or 40 employees, but rather something smaller and cozier to be closer to the customer,” Karaglanis explains. As for the location, the Karaglanis brothers absolutely wanted a spot in The Plateau where customers are immersed in culture and energy of the city.
“We didn’t want to be known as just a burger joint, a hot dog place or as a poutinerie but rather as a restaurant that delivers all these foods as gourmet dishes,” he says. The fast-food gourmet trend is really big right now, especially in cities like New York City, Vancouver and Toronto that are taking simple foods and adding unexpected ingredients to add a burst of flavour. “We have a lot of fun,” he laughs. “People enjoy walking into a happy restaurant with a good atmosphere, which is something I believe we achieved.”
When I first walked in last week to experience La Poutine Week madness I felt welcomed and excited to sit down to eat. Dimitri came to see the customers waiting in line in the blistering cold to assure them it wouldn’t be long and thanked us for our patience. Once I stepped foot in the restaurant I was greeted by a friendly waitress and overheard Dimitri thanking customers and asking them if everything was to their liking. The small restaurant was bustling with customers, loud music, a chalkboard “mason jar” drink menu and despite the “rush” they were experiencing that night, service was on point. Within one hour we ordered, received our food, ate and paid. Never did Dimitri approach us asking us to leave because there was a line outside and as a foodie I greatly appreciated that gesture. There is nothing worse than being told you need to be out in an hour because there are other people waiting.
Seeing as it was Poutine Week I ordered the featured poutine “La Cochonne,” as well as their Mile End hot dog topped with smoked meat, coleslaw and pickles. When I saw the size of their hot dogs I was surprised. It looked like a Costco-sized hot dog, big and meaty with full of flavour. Biting into it was a bit of a challenge (no pun intended) but it was what made the experience more enjoyable.
The rest of the menu looked very appetizing. With a wide array of burger, hot dog and poutine choices, your taste buds won’t be disappointed. There is an extensive alcohol menu comprised of drafts beers and colorful mason jar concoctions.
Karaglanis explains that their intention was not to be some trendy place in the plateau that eventually becomes a fad, but rather give their customers a good experience with good food. “If you walk into a cool-looking restaurant but the food sucks, regardless of the aesthetics you’re not going back there.”
That is not what this new Plateau restaurant is turning out to be. This family-run business is very important to them and having gained experience through their father’s chain of restaurants which were all owned and operated by the Karaglanis family, going in every day and cooking for people doesn’t feel like work. “We’re starting to see regulars which is a very good sign in the business.”
The name “Mange Moi” gives off a sexual innuendo but in no way was that their intention. “We pitched the name to a few friends,” Dimitri explains. “Some said it was provocative, others said sex sells and one of them said you will never forget the name, and that’s the main reason we kept it.” It’s ironic the poutine featured during Poutine Week is called La Cochonne. “We don’t try to do anything sexual but we realize customers have a good laugh and enjoy the atmosphere it brings.”
Although during Poutine Week the restaurant was jamming with customers service was still quick, reliable and efficient. The staff was so happy while they greeted customers. “We need to keep professionalism where it should be,” Dimitri says. “We tell our staff to have fun but make sure not to lose control and get caught up in the ambiance of the restaurant. The customer is paying for a service they worked hard for so we ask our staff to treat them with respect.”
The cozy restaurant seats approximately 40 people – a move the Karaglanis brothers don’t regret. Right now they are trying a weekend breakfast menu available Saturday and Sundays between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. in hopes of making Mange Moi some people’ breakfast hot spot. Mange Moi will also be a spring/summer pit stop for anyone wanting to grab a bite and/or drink on a terrace.
35 Mont Royal Ave.
Montreal, H2T 1N4