Arcade Fire has made promoting Haitian culture (and providing earthquake relief) one of its defining causes. Now the band is hoping to help turn fellow Canadians on to the country's food with a new restaurant in its hometown of Montreal.
The band told the Toronto Globe & Mail about its plans to open Agrikol, a mixed-use Haitian restaurant and cultural venue, sometime late this summer. The band partnered with restaurateurs Roland Jean and Jen Agg, who run a Haitian restaurant in Toronto called Rhum Corner.
Regine Chassagne, the band's co-lead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, is of Haitian descent, and is married to the band's singer, Win Butler. The band brought on Haitian percussionists to perform on its latest album "Reflektor" and performed live with them on its tours.
"The thing that we were really impressed with at Rhum Corner is that it's this space for Haitian and Caribbean culture and it's really cool and contemporary," Butler told the Globe. "Regine's family moved to Montreal from Haiti, like a lot of Haitians, and moving to this tundra, you know … you miss this cultural warmth. It's something that I felt at Rhum Corner and it's something that I know that we can do in Montreal."
The band had previously partnered on a line of Haitian coffee, RaRa, but this will be its first restaurant. Montreal's population includes an estimated 200,000 people of Haitian descent, so there will be a crowd of more than just Arcade Fire fans awaiting the opening.
For Angelenos looking to get a general idea of what Agrikol will serve, we suggest TiGeorge's Chicken just outside of Echo Park. The outstanding coffee and warm vibes there will turn you off Intelligentsia forever.