Canadian Imperial Bank of Carmichael?

Carmichael at Gold Medal Plates 2011, photo courtesy GMP
Carmichael at Gold Medal Plates 2011, photo courtesy GMP

I wasn’t a fan of chef Matthew Carmichael’s decision to take on tacos after he left the job as executive chef at Restaurant 18, Social and Sidedoor.  All fun and fine enough, but Carmichael is an enormously gifted chef, and his talents should have been used, it seemed to me, to really advance the gastronomy of this great city. To continue the work he had done putting us on the culinary map. I wanted another signature restaurant I could really sink my teeth into, something to crow about… not an underground taqueria with a wildly popular take away counter.

IMG_7453Having whinged about that, I’ll tell you I love his underground taqueria.  Hate the no reservation thing, but love the food, the booze, the feel of El Camino on Elgin.  And I admit it’s a marvellous addition to the pleasure of the Ottawa restaurant scene. But surely he was just biding his time, toying with tacos, until something else came along…

For a while there was chat of  a new project on Somerset Street. In the Village, as I understand it. But I guess that fell through. And I found myself wondering if the demise of Domus and the troubles at ZenKitchen had spooked him a bit. Or at least his investors.

But hurrah hurrah… I’ve just heard from the horse’s mouth that he’ll take on the lease of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Canada, the flagship historic building on Sparks Street. He expects to fit it up in 10 months (“max”, he writes) and though the vibe will be ‘casual’, the food will be more “classic.” Wine will matter. And there will be reservations! Tables should be available for booking, if all goes according to plan (thinking of you, dear Fauna…) in early fall of 2015.  Let’s hope we can bank on it…








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