Romain Lerot, the owner of the café, attributes much of this success to its location and friendly environment. "I'm very lucky with my location. It's on a small street that is very popular among locals as well as those who work in Montreal." She says that she tries to make Café Prague feel like home for those visiting from out-of-town. "Many of our customers are regulars and we know them by name".
Another reason why Romain Lerot believes Cafe Prague has succeeded so much is because it caters to many different groups within Outremont: students, families and professionals alike. "Your neighbourhood café should be one where you can always come back and feel welcome", Romain Lerot says. This notion of familiarity seems to be shared throughout the community, as Romain Lerot mentions that she has customers who have become like a second family to her.
"Everyone is always welcome here".
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What does the menu look like? What would you recommend us to try?
Café Prague's menu varies throughout the day. It begins with breakfast at 7:00 AM and closes at 3 AM daily. Each meal is well portioned and reasonably priced. The lunch hours tend to be the busiest here, so if you're looking for a quick spot for lunch, this might not be ideal; but fear not! The food comes out quickly and the service is superb. "Our portions are big enough so that even though it takes time for your food to come out sometimes because we make everything fresh,you won't leave hungry".
"It's affordable too." Romain Lerot says that many of her customers are students, so offering affordable prices is crucial. Another benefit of Cafe Prague is its large portions. "You can come here for any meal of the day and take some food to go if you want to save money. We try to make it that way for everyone." The menu offers many traditional Eastern European dishes as well as other options, such as pasta or sandwiches.
One dish that should be tried by first-time visitors is the home-cooked borscht soup. Borscht usually includes beetroot which gives it a distinct red colour; however Café Prague has a variation with red cabbage which makes their borscht soup purple! Adding sour cream to the soup and some boiled potatoes on top, you've got a hearty meal that will leave you feeling satisfied. For dessert, why not try their cheesecake or apple strudel?
"I definitely recommend our borscht," Romain Lerot says with a smile. "It's my grandma's recipe".
Romain Lerot also recommends the potato pancakes (zemiakove placky) which is her own mother's recipe. This dish is made of grated potato mixed up with egg yolks, onions, salt, pepper and flour all rolled into pancakes which are deep fried until golden brown. The pancake is then served with sour cream topped with fried bacon bits. Although this may seem like an odd combination for some people, Romain Lerot assures that it is tasty and well worth the try.
Café Prague also serves up traditional Eastern European drinks such as Šárka, a lemon-flavoured soda drink popular in the Czech Republic; kofola, originally from communist days which tastes similar to Coca Cola; or Postrema vodka. Romain Lerot encourages her guests not to be afraid to experiment with different dishes at Café Prague because she believes they will end up pleasantly surprised.
"I want people to feel like they're coming home when they come here".