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 Post subject: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:54 pm 
Wears Pleather Undies
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This has been a pretty bad week for vegan. First, we've learned that the Viva vegan store and its online store http://vivagranolaveganstore.com are going out of business after 5 years. They carried a lot of unique items (soy curls, vegg, etc) and they will be sorely missed. RIP

The other bad news is Commensal, the well-known 35 year old restaurant chain and prepared meals company, announcing their "evolution" towards a new and improved Flexitarian approach by now offering chicken, shrimps and crab in all their restaurant. A total sellout move if you ask most vegetarian in the city who instantaneously called for boycott. I really hope you will do the same when visiting.

We used to make do with their frankly outdated and overpriced food (not to mention too often mind-buggling non-vegan and almost entirely non-organic) for a while now in order to support a beloved mark but now, this is too much as it just reeks dollar sign. They were actually bought by a big fake-italian restaurant chain a few years ago, then dropped the "vegetarian" moniker secretly at some point and now, I guess the initial plan was finally made public. Seeing their new tv campaign featuring their president telling us that with the introduction of meat, “their menu is more Huuuum than ever” just makes me sick. Not to mention their stupid justification that the change was made based on public demand after 65% of 325(!) customers interviewed said they'd welcome meat to the menu.

Ok, enough with the rants.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:57 pm 
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There seems to be better days ahead though as two new restaurants (one mostly vegetarian called Santa Barbara; the other one vegan and yet unnamed) are expected to open in the short future. Can't wait to see.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 7:45 am 
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Yikes, I had no idea about Commensal. I wonder if the ones in Toronto are switching as well (I would assume so?). They almost always have a Groupon deal on, so I was wondering if that was a sign that they were struggling.

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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:43 am 
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I lived in Montreal several years ago and their Latin Quarter location was always crowded. Is this a response to slowing sales or are they just interested in supporting "sustainable seafood?" Either way their food was nowhere near being a great place compared to other options in Montreal.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:59 am 
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what does "more Huuuum than ever” mean?

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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 1:14 pm 
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@theque: As far as we know, the move is not in response to any financial trouble. I'm sure most would understand if it was a matter of live or death but unless they are hiding it, it is simple a business decision by the new ownership. 50% of their business is actually prepared meals in supermarkets.

Their argument for sustainability is pretty thin. No certification or anything for now, just a statement that their seafood provider, a big mainstream company called High Liner, is a leader in that regard. I haven't researched it. As for chickens, they will be 100% grain-fed by 2013, currently standing standing at 80% grain only. The same farm offers organic chicken but Commensal did not choose that option. As per their spokesperson, the chickens are allocated 1 sq foot of space and do not go outside.


@supercarrot: Yeah, I wasn’t sure if that part would translate too well. It’s Humm as in Homer Simpsons “humm, donut”. So basically, that their menu is more yummy than ever. The text for the tv add is full of related adjectives for their meat menu: delicious, superb, fantastic, better than ever, etc. They basically fail to walk the fine line between promoting the old and the new food by allowing an undertone that vegetarian food is just not good enough for non-veg!


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Wed Oct 31, 2012 9:30 pm 
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On that's so sad. Le Commensal has been my Montreal mainstay for over a decade, though last year when I was there I felt like the quality and variety of vegan options had gone downhill. Very very disappointing.

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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:02 am 
Chard Martyr
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That's SO sad about Viva Vegan. That store was adorable. :( I would order from all the way over here because the shipping was fair and I loved supporting an indie Canadian vegan business.

Commensal I can take or leave, but it is a shame. I did had some good meals there.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 10:46 am 
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I had no idea about Viva Vegan! I'm so sad. Now how will I get my cases of soy curls? :(
I wonder why they're closing, I hope it's not just due to lack of sales.

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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:01 pm 
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Maggie, I think Viva Vegan had been struggling financially for a while. Here's a link to the message they put on their Facebook page:

http://www.facebook.com/notes/viva-gran ... 7123541562

As for Commensal, I rarely eat there, as I find the vegan options pretty unappealing, but I won't be buying any more of their prepared meals either.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 4:09 pm 
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I hadn't heard about Viva Vegan. I'm too stunned to read the rest of your post, I feel like I wanna cry :(

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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 01, 2012 6:34 pm 
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Ugh that totally sucks at Commensal. I went to one in Montreal a number of years ago and was going to try their restaurant in Toronto....no more! There are so many yummy places to eat at in Toronto, I'll take my business to any of those places instead!

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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Fri Nov 02, 2012 11:27 am 
Chard Martyr
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And like, I totally don't understand it. Every time I went to the downtown location by McGill, it was PACKED. Obviously they were doing something right. As someone who lives in an area where Commensal looks dirt cheap based on what I'm used to, I relished loading up on their avocado salad and, well, other things I don't remember.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 08, 2012 9:14 am 
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Wow, good thing I always avoided Le Commensal then!

The news about Viva Vegan completely sucked. It was the only store nearest me that carried hard-to-find vegan products. The natural foods stores in Newport, VT carries some good stuff and I am only 45 minutes from the border, but I liked the supporting them (and also my postman is vegan and was always totally excited when he got to deliver a package from them!).

With vegan grocery stores closing in Montreal and Toronto too, it makes me sad and makes me nervous about my own vegan business model.


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 Post subject: Re: Sad news from Montreal (aka please avoid Commensal)
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:31 pm 
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Sounds like the one in Toronto is turning too.

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