The 908, a brand new restaurant opening at LBX, hopes to alter the meals scene in East Lengthy Seaside • the Hello-lo
But perhaps the most fascinating are the restaurants in Moncton – and while Thomas Ortega’s upcoming Amorcito is still largely under wraps (and one of the most exciting things about the Moncton scene for me), it’s a place nobody knows that perhaps stirs up the pot the most: The 908.
And when I say stir the pot, I don’t mean the 908 is controversial; I mean, its owners are really trying to change what has long been a stagnant East Moncton food scene. With that in mind, 908 founders and owners seem to reiterate Ian Moston (the current owner of Riley’s in Belmont Shore) and Ciaran Gough Ortega.
When Playa Amor opened near PCH and Second Street, Ortega took the initial responsibility of stripping East Moncton’s culinary space – places like Enrique’s, Tracy’s (great burger, bee-tea-dub), and Baja Sonora have operated Popular in the neighborhood for years, but offers little new – and presents cook-driven plates and experiences.
With that first jump, Moston and Gough are ready to take the next.
“To be honest, I’m tired of hearing places like Bestia or Republique [in DTLA and Mid-Wilshire Los Angeles] can’t exist in Moncton, ”said Gough. “Moncton doesn’t just want it, it deserves it.”
Name drops like Bestia and Republique, which are often featured on a list of the best LA restaurants, are no boasting for Gough. It is a proclamation – and a bold one at that.
It’s safe to say that Chef Jason Witzl of Ellie’s, Chef Philip Pretty of Restauration, Chef Alex McGroarty of 4th & Olive, and Ortega, each of whom made my first list of the best restaurants last year, managed to move up a level To get to eating in Moncton, everyone has experimented with Bestia-like foods only to be fired by a large segment of the Moncton audience.
“Moncton is difficult, but wonderful,” Witzl once told me. “I was seen as an outsider, so I was kind of insulted, but I knew I could create great food … I’ll give it this way: Moncton loves great food, but there is a learning curve.”
This learning curve is essential to surviving on a culinary level here in Moncton. Local pride is often so great that some chefs burn out – remember chef Susan Tract and her ability to withstand criticism from local people for just a year? – but with chefs like Ortega and Witzl, Gough’s dream is not aimed at a cake in the sky.
Gough, who is from Ireland and has lived in East Moncton for over 15 years, has broken the rift in the restaurant business: he was a chef, bartender, general manager, vice president and COO of a restaurant – the dream of a Republican location has been his dream for some time Time in the blood.
The only fight that plagued him was whether to follow the East Moncton tradition and revitalize something old a la Tracy’s Bar & Grill or, what was even more challenging, create something entirely new that lifts the Eastside scene at the same time and at the same time Moncton-centered stays.
He chose the latter.
“We asked our chefs what their favorite food is, where it comes from and why it is their favorite,” said Gough. “And the articles ranged from sandwiches to steaks – but they all had one thing in common: they were well executed.”
With a menu that spans 40 items, an impressive beverage program that includes what Gough calls “concoct and stick high-tan” along with draft wine and “Oregon kickass beers you just can’t find here” Be You are the key to the success of the 908. (We all remember the overwhelmingly large menu on Table 301. And a fun fact: The 908 brings IDA Architecture to the market for the design of its space, the same company that directs the direction of the beautiful Interiors from Table 301.)
While The 908 is currently under construction and the approval process is due to take place this week, Gough is hoping to be open by next spring – but not until his menu is perfected.
“We’re not going to open until we’re completely ready to serve some of the best food the area has ever seen,” said Gough.
In addition to The 908, and following the announcement of tenants such as The Kroft and Grilled Cheese Bar earlier this year, two more restaurant tenants will be moving in. The Hangar, a 17,000-square-foot dining room in the 26-acre estate near Douglas In Park, will soon be home to Korean BBQs Quarters and Temakira sushi hand-rolling chain.
Moncton Exchange is located at 4069 N Lakewood Blvd.
Brian Addison is a columnist and editor for the Moncton Post. Reach him below [email protected] or on social media on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.