Jojo Flores didn’t set out to open a Filipino restaurant. He and his brother Toddy, residents of Montreal since childhood and popular DJs in the city’s party scene, already own a club, Peopl, in the Old Port.
The brothers did, however, have a dream to open a café. So when a property on rue Notre Dame in Griffintown came up for sale, Jojo went to take a look.
When he saw that the place also had a kitchen, the idea of opening a restaurant took hold.
The brothers’ original vision consisted of a pan-Asian menu into which they would introduce a few Filipino dishes.
“But one of our investors suggested that it be all-Filipino. My brother and I looked at each other and said, ‘Why not?’”
It turned out to be a smart move. A few months after Flores first viewed the Notre Dame property, Junior opened its doors in the fall of 2014. Since then it has garnered many positive reviews and a steadily growing clientele.
Flores is proud to note that many of the people who eat at Junior are non-Filipino.
“It’s really cool to see people enjoying the cuisine we grew up eating at home.”
Montreal diners are rather spoiled for choice. Flores says Junior stands out as the only Filipino restaurant downtown. To satisfy and pique Montrealers’ selective palettes, Flores says they use fresh, quality ingredients and a carefully selected wine list. Dishes are rotated in and out of the menu every season. They have also introduced weekend brunches and taco Wednesdays.
Last but not least, there is the lively ambience, which Flores says is really “a reflection of who we are, and our appreciation for good food and great music.”
It seems that the Flores brothers have hit on a winning combination.