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I used ePSXe. I used the Windows version of Connectrix for awhile -- in fact, I played through almost all of Breath of Fire 4 using it -- but I liked the speed, customization, and accuracy (of emulation) of ePSXe. The legal loophole t

It wasn’t art, but it was Picasso

at 12:26 - 12th, February 2009

N.D.G. RESTAURANT CLOSES Smoking ban, lean economic times blamed as breakfast around-the-clock times out

It’s curtains for Picasso, the N.D.G. restaurant with the greenhouse windows that served breakfast around the clock for nearly 30 years.

When the popular St. Jacques St. W. eatery closed Friday, the locks had to be changed first – no one could find the keys to the 24-hour-aday eatery. “We didn’t have a key for 29 years,” said Peter Sergakis, who held the lease on the building housing Picasso.

Ninety mostly full-time employees were thrown out of work, victims of the economic downturn.

Sergakis, who built Picasso in 1979 and operated it until selling the 500-seat landmark 14 years ago, said trouble began with the May 2006 smoking ban in bars and restaurants across the province.

As head of the Union des tenanciers de bars du Québec, an association representing 1,500 bar owners, Sergakis is an outspoken opponent of the ban.

Among many other establishments he owns and operates are Les Amazones strip club and P.J. Pub adjacent to Picasso.

But it’s the recession that struck the killer blow to the restaurant, a longtime Sunday brunch tradition in westend Montreal.

“During the last six months, a lot of people have been losing their jobs so they are not going out to eat,” Sergakis said, predicting “2009 will be a bad year for the restaurant business.”

The restaurant’s 24-hour policy was convenient for customers, but it was costly to operate when business is down and expenses are up.

Sergakis said he agreed to lower the rent by $6,000 a month, but the leasee still couldn’t afford to continue.

He declined to say how much rent was and former operator Peter Chonis couldn’t be reached for comment.

Competition from big breakfast-based chains like Chez Cora, with an outlet practically across the street, also had an impact on Picasso’s bottom line.

There are already interested parties with whom Sergakis is negotiating to take over Picasso.

“I want to keep the same concept and energy that was offered before,” he said.

While the restaurant served up almost every fare except Chinese food, it was best known for its always-available breakfast specials and smoked meat.

At the time Serkagis sold, Picasso with its equivalent “of two hospital kitchens together” was going through 175 dozen eggs a week.

Despite giving up its operation in 1994, Sergakis described it as “still part of me.”

Judging by the phone calls he’s been receiving, patrons feel the same.

“I never thought it had such an attachment to the community until people started calling me crying and asking what was happening,” he said. “We had a loyal following.”

“It’s a loss to the neighbourhood and it’s going to be missed,” said Barbara Spencer, who has met there every Wednesday morning the past decade with a group of eight to 12 fellow Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal retirees for a coffee klatch.

“There’s no other big restaurant like it in the area and you got a good meal for your buck,” added the spry 78-yearold, who lives a 15-minute walk away. “They had a pleasant and cheerful staff and you always saw familiar faces.”

Yesterday they tried Chez Cora, but Spencer noted the cost was almost double what they used to pay at Picasso.

But even she and her group had noticed the past couple months that there weren’t as many people “and not the usual buzz.”

The closing still came as a surprise since their regular waitress told them last Wednesday: “See you next week.”

andrew andrew
News comment 1 | User comment 1359 | 12:27 - 12th, Feb 2009


i loved that place

Alex Alex
News comment 2 | User comment 4953 | 12:34 - 12th, Feb 2009

jesus. i thought they were closed for renovations. didn't know it could be permanent.

was the best place to go to at 2am after one of vikie's passion parties.

John John
News comment 3 | User comment 376 | 16:08 - 12th, Feb 2009

Yeah, I'm actually depressed about it, I loved this place and it had come, over the past couple years, to hold a very fond place in my heart. And I can say with certainty that Deb and her family probably feel the exact same way, it's been a part of their family life for decades. :(

Alex Alex
News comment 4 | User comment 4953 | 16:36 - 12th, Feb 2009

definitely more important to us than bens going under, that's for sure.

js js
News comment 5 | User comment 1050 | 20:35 - 12th, Feb 2009

I never did get the chance to go there.

Deb Deb
News comment 6 | User comment 352 | 23:16 - 12th, Feb 2009

I remember running around the kitchens at picasso when I was a child. They used to pull up a stool for me and let me make my own pizza.... The waitresses there used to change my diapers.. I'm going to miss the place!

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