Joe Beef: The delicious, award-winning restaurant that's “a bit of a dump”


"What is the cheapest wine glass available at the wine glass store?” isn’t something you would expect one of Canada’s top restauranteurs to ask when trying to pick out a place setting. But for Joe Beef’s David McMillan, food is his only concern.

During “Salon Talks” with SalonTV’s Manny Howard, McMillan explained, “People come to the restaurant for two things, to drink and to eat. The details around the rest I don't care for. Neither does Fred,” referring to his co-founder Frédéric Morin.

In fact, there’s not a drop of luxury inside the cottage-like eatery in Little Burgundy, a small canal front neighborhood in Montreal. The co-founder and chef admitted, “It's a bit of a dump.” But, that’s the point.

Despite the fact that Joe Beef hit the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list in 2015, McMillan doesn’t know why, nor does he care. “People show up that are used to dining perhaps in the fancier restaurants of Manhattan or Chicago or Paris. Sometimes people show up very well dressed to Joe Beef,” McMillan laughed.

Watch the video above to learn why McMillan wanted to stay away from the generic, white tablecloth restaurant aesthetic when creating Joe Beef. And check out the full episode to hear about his new book, “Joe Beef: Surviving The Apocalypse,”, that details which foods McMillan is stocking away and preparing to grow, catch and cook for the apocalypse.


Cover image courtesy of Jennifer May


About “Salon Talks”

Hosted by Salon journalists, “Salon Talks” episodes offer a fresh take on the long-form interview format, and a much-needed break from the partisan political talking heads that have come to dominate the genre. “Salon Talks” is a destination for information through conversation. Viewers can expect discussions with A-list actors, artists, authors, thinkers, and newsmakers as we explore the full range of the human condition. The show streams live on Facebook and Twitter and each episode is published in full on Salon.com.


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