Nobody knows how to draw laughs like the legendary Hollywood producer-director Ivan Reitman. Ask him about his new restaurant, Montecito, and things turn serious
You’ve had a wildly successful career as the brains behind comedy classics Animal House, Ghostbusters and Meatballs. Why open a 280-seat mega-restaurant in Toronto?
First of all, don’t call it at mega-restaurant. It’s a series of intimate rooms that serve subtly different purposes and would total 280 seats if every damn one were full. Why I got into it? Two local restaurateurs, Tom and Jordan Bitove, approached me. Plus, I have a condo in Festival Tower and realized there isn’t a place nearby for a great, simple, sophisticated meal at a fair price.
Are you disparaging the Hooters up the street?
I’m suggesting there isn’t a great restaurant in the four-or five-block area.
Your family donated the $22-million plot of land for the TIFF Bell Lightbox. Montecito is around the corner. Have you received any flak from Yorkville restaurateurs for stealing the party?
Ha! No. But that shift was happening for about 15 years before the Lightbox came along, so don’t blame me.
No one knows more about comedy than you. With respect, what do you know about opening a restaurant?
Not much. But as a producer and director, I know how to get something relatively expensive done. I know how to entertain the public, too. Most importantly, I’ve brought in Jonathan Waxman, one of the fathers of California cuisine, to oversee the kitchen.
Tell us about Waxman’s baked Alaska. We’ve heard it’s an exploding marshmallow dessert based on the Stay Puft villain in Ghostbusters.
It’s true. I’m not a big fan of marshmallows, but this one is kind of cool.
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