Joe Beef (restaurant)

Joe Beef is a restaurant in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The owners describe the cuisine as “Bocusian-Lyonnaise cuisine du marché (French market cuisine).”[2] Its located at 2491 Notre Dame Street West in the neighbourhood of Little Burgundy, located in the borough of Le Sud Ouest.

Joe Beef
Joe Beef (restaurant) is located in Montreal
Joe Beef (restaurant)
Location within Montreal
Restaurant information
Owner(s)Allison Cunningham, David McMillan, Frédéric Morin, Jeffrey Baikowitz and David Lisbona
Food typeCanadian, French
Dress codeBusiness casual, Formal
Street address2491 Notre Dame Street West
Postal/ZIP CodeH3J 1N6
Coordinates45°28′59″N 73°34′30″W / 45.482972°N 73.575126°W / 45.482972; -73.575126Coordinates: 45°28′59″N 73°34′30″W / 45.482972°N 73.575126°W / 45.482972; -73.575126
Seating capacity75[1]
Other informationWheelchair accessible


Joe Beef was opened on September 19, 2005 by David McMillan, Frederic Morin, and Allison Cunningham with financial guidance and investment by Jeff Baikowitz and David Lisbona.[2] The restaurant took over the location of Café Miguel.

The restaurant's name is a homage to Montreal's infamous Joe Beef, an alias for Charles McKiernan. McKiernan, who owned a tavern that served many lower class laborers in Montreal, “died in his canteen of a heart attack at the age of 54.”[3] McKiernan's generosity and gluttony may have inspired the concept of Joe Beef restaurant, which challenges the conventions of fine French dining.


Alcoholism, Substance Abuse & Mental HealthEdit

McMillan, one of the founders and original chefs of Joe Beef, claimed in an interview with Bon Appetit that he and Morin were indulging in the gluttonous lifestyle they were providing for others through their restaurant, including alcohol.[4] McMillan's peers at the restaurant staged an intervention to combat his alcoholism. Additionally, during the building of the restaurant, McMillan said that he was unable to feel joy about his new business and was not able to fulfill his role as a new restaurant owner and a father.[5] McMillan has since tried to change his lifestyle by attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, which has influenced his partner, Morin, to do the same.

Sexual Assault AllegationsEdit

A transgender Joe Beef busser came forward on Instagram that, in 2016,  after the chef de cuisine “groped their genitals.” They allegedly quit their job after complaining to an unresponsive manager. In an interview, McMillan confirmed allegations and stated that chef de cuisine was “extremely remorseful”, but has taken no action to rectify. McMillan blamed his alcoholism, which he says distracted him from focusing on his career.

McMillan has been criticized before for covering for his Chef de Cuisine, “McMillan was pointing fingers at one alleged abuser, while “he employs and supports” another.” [4] claims an ex-employees in a tweet, referring to the crusade McMillan underwent when decided to publicly out winemaker Norman Hardie of inappropriate workplace behavior, dubbed as Sexual assault. The article, written by opinion/feminist Toronto-based reporter Ivy Knight, with accounts from “friends or acquaintances of Ms. Knight’s”,[6] brought criticism toward McMillan for importing and selling Norman Hardie wines in Québec until the article was made public.


Spaghetti lobster, a popular dish at Joe Beef[7]

The menu at Joe Beef changes every dinner service, usually according to the produce sourced from Atwater Market and other local suppliers. The menu is displayed on a wall-to-wall chalkboard. The lobster spaghetti, foie gras torchon, and oysters are some of the most popular and consistent offerings.[4]


Federic Morin and David McMillan, along with Meredith Erickson, have released two cookbooks: The Art of Living According to Joe Beef: A Cookbook of Sorts[8] and Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse: Another Cookbook of Sorts,[9] which won Gold at the 2019 Taste Canada Awards.[10] The cookbooks include recipes from the restaurants and homes of the Joe Beef owners.


  1. ^ Chesterman, Lesley (2011-08-31). "Fine Dining: Joe Beef". The Gazette (Montreal). Retrieved 11 April 2012.
  2. ^ a b "Excerpt from The Art of Living According to Joe Beef". Penguin Random House Canada. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  3. ^ Heffez, Alanah (2010-09-26). "Joe Beef : The wickedest man in Montreal?". Spacing Montreal. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  4. ^ a b c Goldfield, Hannah (2019-05-20). "Joe Beef and the Excesses of Restaurant Culture". ISSN 0028-792X. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  5. ^ "Joe Beef's David McMillan opens up about depression, sobriety and life in the kitchen".
  6. ^
  7. ^ kowarski (2013-08-17), Dinner at Joe Beef, retrieved 2019-11-20
  8. ^ "Joe Beef: Surviving the Apocalypse by Frederic Morin, David McMillan, Meredith Erickson: 9781524732301 | Books". Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  9. ^ "The Art of Living According to Joe Beef by David McMillan, Frederic Morin and Meredith Erickson". Penguin Random House Canada. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  10. ^ "Joe Beef apocalypse cookbook wins gold at 2019 Taste Canada Awards".

External linksEdit