One of Saint-Laurent’s landmark restaurants, Décarie Hot Dogs, is set to celebrate its 50th anniversary this year. Many Montrealers have come to know the popular fast-food spot for its crispy French fries, all-dressed steamed hot dogs and the friendly smiles behind the counter.
The restaurant’s co-owners, 86-year-old Nicolas Vriniotis and his 77-year-old wife Lambia, are still at it, serving customers several times a week.
« This is my home, this is my love. I want to thank Montrealers for giving us their business, » says Vriniotis.
The cozy snack shop on Décarie Boulevard has been a popular hangout for area residents, workers and students looking for a quick bite. The restaurant is located a short distance from both Vanier College and Cégep de Saint-Laurent.
« They’re always happy to see us when we come here. It’s a nice feeling, » says Rachel Gaulin.
While most restaurants change their menu from time to time to create variety, the Vriniotis family says the key to their success has been keeping their selections the same.
« We don’t like change. The only modification we made to our menu was 35 years ago when we added poutine. We did it, but trust me, it was met with a lot of resistance at the time, » says general manager Tom Vriniotis.
Manager Sofia Vriniotis adds customers feel a sense of comfort when they come to the restaurant.
« There are so many variables in life, things that we can’t control, and then there are things that are constant. We’d like to think we are that constant. They know they can find us here and they will always get that same product, day in and day out, » says manager Sofia Vriniotis.
To mark the special anniversary, the venue will undergo a « small » facelift.
« It will all be indoors. We’re going to replace some of the old-fashioned stools and we’ll redo the floors. Then there’s work that needs to be done to the ventilation system to get it up to code. The restaurant is 50 years old but the building we’re in is close to 100 years old, » says Tom Vriniotis.
He adds the famous bumper stickers on top of the grill, which have become one of the restaurant’s signatures, will not be removed.
« A lot of people ask us about that. People enjoy them so we’ll keep them. We hope to be around another 50 years, » Tom Vriniotis says with a smile.
Some special promotions and events are also planned for the year. The Vriniotis family is also looking into setting up a food truck this summer.