Written by Tania Schiliro on 28.07.14

Owners: Local celebrity Jonas Tomalty (Jonas & The Massive Attraction), Julian Arbia, Michael J. Killam, Matthew McKean, Dan Lima, and Brendan Baxter.

Montreall.com: What was the inspiration behind the name, Rosewood?

Jonas: Dan, Julian, and I are all music lovers. Rosewood is a type of wood that’s used in most guitar necks and it gives a specific sound… Sort of like what we want to give. We wanted a sexy and elegant pub feel that caters to both men and women. The place’s energy relates through the name: you have the rose for a more feminine feel and the wood for a more masculine feel.

Montreall.com: Your music career has been booming recently. What made you want to get into the restaurant business?

Jonas: I’m a raging workaholic and I like to stay busy. I’ve also been a foodie for about 6-7 years and I’ve always been interested in opening my own place. I told myself that I would once I found the time and the right team to do it. It’s all about team building and finding the right people.

Montreall.com: If all goes well with Rosewood, will we be seeing more of you in and around Montreal’s restaurant and bar scene?

Jonas: Absolutely! I love the restaurant business. There’s a reason why we called it Rosewood Montreal: we can easily adapt it to another city. We’d love to take the Rosewood on the road.


Montreall.com: What gives Rosewood that rock n’ roll touch we can all expect knowing you’re behind the project?

Jonas: It all starts in the kitchen. From the Charlevoix meat, to the lettuce from Quebec green houses, to the music that plays out in front… It all has that organic, authentic, rock n’ roll vibe. Our playlist also reflects a little bit of everyone involved… It’s mostly rock, but it has a little bit of everything. If I had to describe it, I’d say you’ll hear anything from Coachella’s lineup over the past ten years, to the original Woodstock, to Lollapalooza, to one or two Grateful Dead concerts. The authentic, organic rock n’ roll idea is kept consistent throughout the entire place.

Montreall.com: What can guests expect to see on the menu at Rosewood?

Jonas: Classy pub fare with a twist. We’re more than just your typical hamburger joint. We have chicken wings, exciting salads, and great fries. Our chicken wing sauces are amazing… We have a Thai green curry sauce, a butter chicken sauce, and a jalapeno ranch sauce. My favorite burgers have to be the “Bangkok” because of the tempura and the “El Chapo” because it’s nice and spicy. The “El Chapo” is actually a vegan burger. We make a concerted effort to buy local and organic products when possible. Sustainability is one of our top priorities. We also serve amazing Sotol; no machines are used in its making. Matty is a major Canadian Mezcal importer, so we get first picks at the best stuff. We have some fun options.

Montreall.com: Do you serve specialty drinks other than the Sotol?

Jonas: Dan Lima and Brendan Baxter are the soul food of mixology. You know you’re setting yourself up for something different when you grab a drink here. Our cocktails are crafted with homemade iced teas, lemonades, and sodas. So you can get, let’s say, iced tea with jasmine and lemongrass or a grape and lemon zest soda. And what’s cool about them is the fact that you can add your choice of alcohol. I love the “Passion Paloma”. We also already have a nice selection of beers, but it will definitely grow.

Montreall.com: During what hours will you be serving food?

Jonas: For now, we’re open between 5:00pm and midnight during the week and the kitchen is open until 3:00am on weekends. Once we officially open, we’ll definitely start serving lunch and we’ll also have an outdoor terrace similar to the one at Joverse.

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Montreall.com: Is the full menu available after-hours?

Jonas: It’s limited, but still very close to our day menu. After giving a concert, all I want to do is grab a bite and relax, so we also wanted to make Rosewood a musician-friendly place in all aspects. Musicians often get off the stage past midnight and whether you just finished performing at Bistro à Jojo or at the Bell Centre, we wanted to give all musicians a tasty and affordable option—one where you can get an appetizer, a main dish and a drink for under $30, something other than your typical fast food options, you know. Enjoying a beer over some good food, while listening to some badass rock n’ roll music… That all sounds pretty nice to me.

Montreall.com: What was the inspiration behind the decor?

Jonas: A classy, grungy, rock n’ roll feel. Benoît Séguin a.k.a DJ Bender did a great job. Everything in here is made out of real wood; the tables, the sign outside… Even the bar is one big piece of wood. We wanted to give the place that warm, cozy feeling.

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Montreall.com: What was your thinking behind the outlets at the bar? Are there any other cool technological aspects about Rosewood? 

Jonas: Oftentimes, people rush home to charge their phone or they leave it with the bartender and no longer have access to it. We wanted customers to sit at the bar and make themselves at home. I’m sort of conducting a little social experiment at the moment. I’ve been observing how often people look at their phones when they’re here, and surprisingly enough, I have yet to see anyone take out their phone once they’ve stepped through our doors. It makes me really happy to see that people are enjoying the atmosphere and don’t feel the need to attend to their phone. We were also thinking of attaching a little box to every table so that customers can drop their phones in and enjoy a distraction-free experience, but we haven’t felt the need to incorporate that into the decor yet. Other than that, we’re pretty much the most technologically advanced resto-pub in the city, since we can control everything from an iPad or iPhone. Julian and I are often on tour so it’s a great tool to have.

Montreall.com: Rosewood has its very own stage. What kind of events can we expect to see? 

Jonas: Well, we won’t be hosting live shows every weekend. We’ll be more of a special events venue, perfect for occasions like record launches or 5 à 7s. We have a seating capacity of 118 and a standing capacity of 238, so we have a lot of room. Plus, the second floor balcony is great for watching shows and everything on our menu can be brought down to finger food. We will be hosting the “Rosewood Unplugged Concert Series” though. Some of my friends will be performing and maybe some locals bands as well.

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Montreall.com: How would you describe the “Rosewood experience” to newcomers?

Jonas: An authentic, organic Montreal experience that will hopefully leave you wanting to come back so that you can try every one of our burgers!

Montreall.com: This one’s for all the fans out there… Will we be seeing a lot of you here at Rosewood?

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Jonas: Yeah, you’ll definitely find me here when I’m not on tour. I consider this place my first home… I’ve done a lot of napping on those banquettes at the back! I love being here. It’s representative of my friends and I, and it was built with that intention.

Montreall.com: The official opening of Rosewood is scheduled for August 12th. Can we hope for an impromptu show from Jonas & The Massive Attraction on that day?

Jonas: I doubt it, but Jonas & The Massive Attraction will definitely be the first musicians to christen the Rosewood stage.

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Stay tuned…

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