The Gibeau Orange Julep restaurant (also known colloquially as OJ or The Big Orange or The Julep) is a roadside attraction and fast food restaurant in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The building is in the shape of an orange, three stories high, with a diameter of 12.3 metres (40 ft).
|Gibeau Orange Julep|
|Food type||Restaurant specializing in "Orange Julep"|
|Street address||7700 Décarie Boulevard|
|Postal/ZIP Code||H4P 2H4|
The restaurant was started by Hermas Gibeau in 1932 to serve his trademark drink the Gibeau Orange Julep, reportedly based on a Gibeau family recipe. Before founding the first location, Gibeau sold his drinks at Belmont Park, a popular amusement park at the time. The original storefront he opened, located on rue Sherbrooke Est, was not shaped like an orange. The cult following that developed revolved around his second location, the Big Orange, located on Decarie Blvd.
For a time, the Julep was noted for rollerskating waitresses, who brought food orders to cars. Customers today order and receive their food at the counter. Food can then be taken away or eaten at one of a number of picnic tables. The restaurant opens at 8 am and operates until 3am on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 2 am the rest of the week.
An August 9, 2019 article by the Montreal Gazette cited an earlier (August 9, 1977) article on the restaurant “At Gibeau’s Julep, the 1950s never really left. It’s a scene that has outlasted LSD, the Vietnam war and thus far pollution,” Juan Rodriguez reported, in an Aug. 9, 1977 feature on the Décarie Blvd. landmark.” Rodriguez, the original author, emphasized the importance of the restaurant as a social hub, separate from its food or drink. ““It is the ultimate hang out, the local epitome of the modern American pastime of the automotive pick-up, the great asphalt drama,” Rodriguez wrote.”
In 1945, Gibeau built an orange concrete sphere two stories high to house his restaurant. It is believed Gibeau intended to live there with his wife and children. The Big Orange, the last standing operating Orange Julep, was once one of several Gibeau Orange Julep restaurants in the Montreal area and beyond, many shaped like a giant orange.
A 1969 Montreal Gazette article by Peter Lanken reported “The original Orange Julep was conceived, in 1945… It was on Decarie Boulevard, it was round, it was concrete, it was orange. It had a small square window on the second floor, which made it look like something out of a children’s book...” Though Lanken refers to The Big Orange as the original restaurant, it was in fact the second location, though the first orange-shaped one. The restaurant and its orange sphere were rebuilt, from a design by architect Olius P. Bois, to be larger and further back from the roadway when it was widened to become the Décarie Expressway in 1966. Its shell consists of fiberglass segments that were ordered from a local pool manufacturer, covering a laminated wood shell frame. The whole building is illuminated from the outside in the evenings.
This style of building is called mimetic architecture, where a building is shaped in such a way that it references the purpose of the building.
Drink and other productsEdit
This section contains content that is written like an advertisement. (January 2021)
The drink, the Gibeau Orange Julep, was first marketed in 1932. In addition to the storefront, The Orange Julep juice is also retailed, and there are recipes available online. Propos Montreal claims to have found the patent for the recipe. However, it was patented by the current owner in 1993. As outlined in the patent, No. 2083584, filed in English by Gibeau, the recipe explains that the fruit juice is deacidified by the mixture of skimmed milk powder and pectin before adding the juice concentrate and the natural vanilla flavor.
The drink is sold alongside fast-food items like hot dogs (by Nathan's Famous), burgers, fries, and poutine.
Orange Julep offers spaghetti and meat sauce for $6.65.
There are also vegetarian options: the veggie burger, veggie hot dogs, and veggie pogos.
For decades up until 2019, the Orange Julep hosted classic car "cruise nights" on Wednesday evenings from 5:30pm to about 9:30pm (May to September). If the weather permitted, an announcer would walk around talking about the classic cars in the main parking lot that day while chatting with the classic car owners. The main parking lot was designated for classic cars and classic motorcycles only (pre 1980 models) often filling up beyond capacity. People arriving in modern vehicles could park in the secondary back lot. 1950s & 60s rock 'n' roll music would play on the loudspeakers. Occasionally a DJ would be set-up outside taking requests. Each classic car had an Orange Julep number assigned to it, and at the end of the evening prizes were awarded to the winning car owners for the different categories. On some days, people who ordered food could vote for their favourite classic car by writing the car number on the back of their food receipt and slipping it into a box. T-shirts and other memorabilia were often tossed into the crowd too. Photography enthusiasts were often spotted there with vintage film cameras as well with some people dressing up in 1950s fashion for the occasion (photos could be posted to the Orange Julep Cruise Nights Facebook page). Families would often bring their dogs too. The many fans of the event are very disappointed it is no longer being held. Often similar events were held on Tuesdays and Thursdays specifically for motorcycles and Chevrolet Corvettes.
In the mediaEdit
The restaurant appears, along with other Montreal landmarks, in the music video for the Men Without Hats song "Where Do the Boys Go?". The Orange Julep has a presence on some social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook. The restaurant's Twitter is not as active as their location tags on Instagram but has been used in the past to do updates on the restaurant as well as engaging with other popular Montreal Twitter accounts, such as MTL Blog. The Facebook page has been more active in the past, sharing photos and reviews of the restaurant.
The Orange Julep is one of the original landmarks in Montreal, making it one of the many sought at tourist locations on the island. The restaurant has been mentioned on Tripadvisor, Trip Savvy, Daily Hive, Propos Montreal, MTL Blog, and the Montreal Gazette.
- Musgrave, Sarah (2003). Resto a go-go : 180 cheap and fun places to eat and. Toronto: ECW Press. ISBN 1-55022-560-X.
- Brownstein, Bill (30 May 2007). "A landmark in more ways than one". The Gazette (Montreal). Archived from the original on 2012-05-09. Retrieved 25 June 2009.
- "The Real Story Behind Montreal's Orange Julep". www.mtlblog.com. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- "Orange Julep - Montreal, Quebec | Local Food Guide". eatyourworld.com. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- "Gibeau Orange Julep - Restaurants - Montréal". YellowPages.ca. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
- "History Through Our Eyes: Aug. 9, 1977, the scene at the Orange Julep". Montreal Gazette. 2019-08-09. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- Leddy, Michael (2017-11-20). "Orange Julep art". Orange Crate Art. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- "The Montreal Gazette - Google News Archive Search". news.google.com. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- "Mimetic architecture". www.designingbuildings.co.uk. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- "Copycat Recipe: The Famous Orange Julep Drink". At Home With Joanna. 2015-08-23. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- "Montreal's Secret Orange Julep Recipe Has Finally Been Revealed". www.mtlblog.com. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- Government of Canada, Industry Canada (2015-06-15). "Canadian Patent Database / Base de données sur les brevets canadiens". brevets-patents.ic.gc.ca (in French). Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- "The Best Spaghetti In Montreal Is At The Orange Julep. Yes, The Orange Julep!". www.mtlblog.com. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- "Vegetarian-friendly diners to try in Montréal". Tourisme Montréal. 2017-07-07. Retrieved 2019-11-18.
- Remiorz, Ryan (14 June 2016). "A Montreal tradition: Classic car shows at iconic Gibeau Orange Julep restaurant". National Post. The Canadian Press. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
- Men Without Hats - Where Do The Boys Go (Official Music Video), archived from the original on 2021-12-15, retrieved 2019-11-20
- "Orange Julep (@OrangeJulepMTL) | Twitter". twitter.com. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
- "Gibeau Orange Julep - Montreal, Quebec - Fast Food Restaurant, Smoothie & Juice Bar | Facebook". www.facebook.com. Retrieved 2019-11-20.