Saturday 10 December 2011

Breaking news: Yangtze Restaurant to rise from the ashes with new location

The legendary Yangtze Chinese Restaurant on Van Horne Avenue in Montreal, which was destroyed by fire on December 3, will rise from the ashes.  Mel Leitman of Cavendish Business Consultants has confirmed to me that  owner Marco Yau plans to rebuild. That will take several months, so here is the really big news!
Mel Leitman

Yau has purchased the  Tchang Kiang Chinese Restaurant at  6066 Sherbrooke Street West in NDG. It closed last July after 35 years in business. Yau will rename it Tchang Kiang by Yangtze and hopes to have it fully operational before January 1. New menus are being ordered and the entire Yangtze staff – chefs, waiters and drivers- will move over to the new location, which seats  about 75 people.

The complete Yangtze  original menu will be available, as well as all of the popular choices from Tchang Kiang. When the original restaurant is restored, they will operate at two different locales. Do this sound like a chain in the making?
Joe Lipkowicz snapped this shot after the fire.

Last Sunday night I posted an item about the fire on my Suburban blog. It resulted in the most significant response to any other blog entry, with people writing to me and leaving comments from around the world. It is absolutely remarkable what a following the Yangtze has.

I expect there to be quite a buzz about the new location.  Leitman, by the way, would love to hear your suggestions. He can be reached at

Artist Carole Spandau's beautiful drawing of the original restaurant's facade.

Regarding the above painting, I contacted Carole Spandau who explained: "I painted it when they had the elaborate original marquee.  That particular marquee was something that I as an artist was compelled to paint.  The uniqueness of its design, the powerful warm colors and the overall towering effect it had on the Van Horne landscape was irresistible to me as a painter.  I have painted it many times since and I do miss being able to sketch it from life in all its splendour and glory.  That's why we artists are drawn to record the passing face of our city..". 

My surreal Pierre Gauthier experience

Let me begin this note by saying that prior to today I had never met Montreal Canadiens General Manager Pierre Gauthier in person..

Am I fan of his? I can hardly say so given the financial hole he has placed the Habs in. As the then  assistant to Bob Gainey three years ago, it was Gauthier who reportedly engineered the horrible acquisition of $.7.3 million a year bust Scott Gomez. Last summer he handed injured defenceman Andre Markov a three year $17.5 million contract. On Friday he traded for $4.25 million a year defenceman Tomas Kaberle, who did have two assists in Montreal's 2-1 victory over New Jersey today. The problem is Kaberle has more than two more years left on his contract, meaning there will not be enough room in the salary cap world next summer to resign Josh Gorges while giving Cary Price and PK Subban the substantial raises the deserve.

Pierre Gauthier
So there I was tonight at Chapter's downtown putting some magazines back on the rack. As I turned to my right, a gentleman who looked very familiar was doing some reading of his own. I looked closely and it was Pierre Gauthier. His wife and kids live in Burlington, Vermont and he commutes, staying in a downtown apartment while in Montreal.

"Kaberle had a good game today," I stated, looking right at him.

"Oh well," he responded, "it's only one game. But he had a good game."

At that moment I realized how surreal this was, especially on a day when this letter by me was published  in the Montreal Gazette sports section, calling for Gauthier's dismissal.

I wonder when I will bump into Habs owner Geoff Molson.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Forever Broadway: We Want More!

Les Productions BronCon presented a sensational Forever Broadway cabaret-style revue at a packed  Rialto Theatre on Sunday, December 4. The nine energetic performers - Chris Barillaro, Katia Di Perna, Jonathan Patterson, Alexey Aldas, Mathieu Courcy, Jonathan Roumain, Bonnie Jordan, Safiya Ricketts, Mila Thé and Lorie Sacdalan – were a pleasure to watch.

Artistic Director ConnieRotella and Artistic Director Bronwen Lloyd Hughes must be commended for their excellent work. These two dynamos are the ones behind the highly popular Musical Showoff competition. Connie has been dancing professionally for over 15 years and participated in various movies, TV shows, TV series, commercials and telethons while Bronwen is an experienced performer with thousands  of hours on stage, combined with over 500 hours of both live and pre-recorded television.
Forever Broadway was yet another success story under the roof of the revitalized Rialto Theatre and its new owners, the husband and wife team of Ezio Carosiella and Luisa Sassano who have the place hopping.
The show (see the video above) included numbers from Cabaret, Chicago, Singing in the Rain, A Chorus Line, Miss Saigon, West Side Story, Rent, Guys and Dolls, Wizard of Oz, Dirty Dancing, City of Angels and Mamma Mia.  I would humbly suggest that if Connie and  Bronwen decide to do this again they consider holding a full week of shows. There is an audience out there clamoring for musical productions of this calibre in Montreal!

Who will be Terry DiMonte's sidekicks? Dan Laxer?

Who will be Terry DiMonte’s on air partners when he returns to the CHOM FM morning show on Monday, January 9? When I spoke to him last week from Calgary he was not quite sure.

For most of his year on the Montreal airwaves, DiMonte was partnered with Ted Bird. They made a spectacular team. Four years ago it was the Terry, Ted and Kim Show – Kim being Kim Rossi. DiMonte now makes it clear that Rossi’s presence was forced upon him. He was not getting along at all with station management at the time, then under the direction of Standard Radio, and decided to leave town.

“I was so burnt out  and tired when I left,” DiMonte said. “I had such a horrible and adversarial relationship with the guy running the station at the time that I was having difficulty sleeping.  I was simply being treated terribly. So I left and Calgary looked like it would be the place I would go to and retire one day.”

Two years ago Bird quit the CHOM morning show, then co-hosted by “Pirate” Pete Marier and Chantal Desjardins, claiming that he could no longer work with then program director Daniel Tremblay. He would end up resurfacing on K103 FM, the Mohawk  Station.

Wouldn't Dan Laxer look good with Terry?

Bird has told all who wish to listen that he has no plans on returning to CHOM, even though  there is new management in place and his pal DiMonte is back.

DiMonte seems to agree. "Ted is one of my best friends," he remarked. "He is clearly very happy where he is now."

I would personally recommend that  DiMonte keep Desjardins as part of his team and add someone familiar with all of us who has a sense of humour. Who better than Dan Laxer, recently cut loose by CJAD but still pleasing listeners once a week on The  Trivia Show.  My second choice would be comic Joey Elias, host of the CJAD Comedy Show and one of the funniest guys in this city.

Will DiMonte embrace the social media phenomenon, which was not so much of a factor when he left? “I suppose so,” he said. “I had a crew from CHOM come to Calgary to do all kinds of taping with me. I expect that will find its way on the internet.”

Take a look at the slimmed down DiMonte here on a clip from his Q107 morning show broadcasting from a radiothon:

Sunday 4 December 2011

Yangtze Restaurant burns away

I think I was a toddler when my parents first brought me to eat at the Yangtze Restaurant on Van Horne, just above Victoria. It has been part of my life ever since, serving up some of the best egg rolls, pineapple chicken, spare ribs and crispy beef this side of Decarie.

My friends and  I have often joked how this was the best Jewish restaurant in town, for on a given night 90 percent of the clientele seemed to be from the Jewish community.  I  was always amazed how the waiter could take an order for a group of 10, not mark anything down and get everything right. As he walked to the kitchen, someone would always yell out, "No MSG please!"

Well, I am sad to share the news sent to me via longtime traffic and  emergency reporter Rick Leckner  that the Yangtze went up in flames just after midnight on December 4. It was a third alarm fire and when I drove  by tonight it was all boarded up. Will the owners rebuild? I have to imagine so. We will have to wait to see how extensive the damage was. The photo below is courtesy of

See the updated version with news of a relocation.