City Bites

BREAKING NEWS! Chef Matt Carmichael opening Ottawa’s first pop-up restaurant in Mellos vintage diner in the Byward Market

This photo of Mellos appeared on the Trip Advisor website, taken by a visitor to the city who proclaimed the diner "where the locals go!"

Rumours have been swirling for weeks but today City Bites confirms that Matthew Carmichael, former Executive Chef of Social, E18hteen, and Side Door will be opening a pop-up restaurant* inside the delightfully dingy Mellos Diner on Dalhousie Street in the Byward Market. It all begins on June 25, 26, and 27 with plans to then be open Sundays through Wednesdays after that.

*What’s a pop-up restaurant?

It’s a dining phenomenon beloved by Smartphone wielding foodies that is by definition temporary and transient — it’s a restaurant that might turn up without much notice in a private home, an abandoned space or at a festival and might run for one night, one week, or one month and beyond.

In this case Carmichael says he’s going to experiment with different nights and see what works best. If all goes well, the pop-up could become what’s called “a takeover” and go on indefinitely.

As for the food, expect it to be classic Carmichael — he says it’s a combination of what diners have come to expect from the three upscale restaurants he ran until his recent departure. “There will be good fresh pasta, curries, good steak frites, asparagus, and morels,” he says, “And I’ll be playing around with stuff. It’s a reflection of where I’m at right now with food.”

As for his choice of the quintessential 1950s greasy spoon? “I think Mellos is such a heritage institution here in Ottawa, I want to pay respect to that.” The music and lighting will be different, but he’s keeping the frozen-in-time classic diner décor just as it is.

Mellos Pop-Up Restaurant, 290 Dalhousie St.