15 Oct Montreal is CRAZY for Dayzzz’s Salads
*UPDATE – Cafe Dayzzz’s downtown has closed. However, you can now visit Cafe Dayzzz’s Express in the Brunswick Medical Centre in Montreal’s West Island at 955 boul. Saint Jean in Pointe Claire.
My fascination with chopped salads began in New York, where they pervade every corner deli. When I moved back to Montreal, I was disappointed to discover that there is no equal to this experience. Our deps just don’t cut it. Only a few years behind the curve, Montreal is finally catching up and catering to the craving of so many that just can’t eat another burger or Thai Express or Timmy’s sandwich for lunch.
Salads are nothing new – in fact, they are perhaps the purest, most unfettered meal in existence. Think of all those raw veggies, recently pulled from the earth (or from Costa Rica 2 weeks ago and shipped north…but that’s another conversation). In any case, they’re good for you. You can now find salad shops in a select few Montreal locations. Westmount has a fairly well-known spot but who wants to wait in line, cram into a tiny space and elbow your way around for a $15 salad?
Enter Wendy Hajaly, who spearheaded the salad counter at Abe & Mary’s, refining it with her own brand of homemade dressings. Building on the success of her dressings (you can find them in local markets and most recently, Adonis), she decided to bring salads to a desperate downtown crowd, bored of their fast-food lunches. Dayzzz’s is tucked away on a side street, Lambert-Closse, just one block east of Atwater behind the forum.
The bright yellow sign and small outdoor patio attracts the curious who don’t mind the detour for something different.
Dayzzz’s has 10 signature salads that combine some traditional salad dwellers with surprising twists. My favourite is by far “the Rebecca” (several are named after her 3 kids, husband and friends) which features pears, parmesan, shredded carrots, sunflower seeds and pita chips all tossed liberally with Dayzzz’s Asian dressing – a sweet, sesame and soy dressing that is undoubtedly the most delicious and amenable of dressings. The best part is that any Dayzzz’s salad comes out to just over $10 and is easily a full meal. You’ve got the option to create your own or add proteins for $2-$3 more. Service is fast and chipper. The furnishings are simple – perhaps in need of a little aesthetic trendifying, and with the exception of Virgin Radio dominating soundscape, it’s a good environment just to chill for a couple hours over coffee, a good book or dig into some studying (for those of you poor souls still in school).
While Dayzzz’s is without a doubt riding on its salads, it has some other redeeming features, including perhaps the most exquisite, creamy, nutty Italian espresso that has touched my lips.
That being said, lattes, americanos and a variety of coffee options are available and have created addicts out of many neighbours. Sandwiches are prepared fresh every day and on bread from a local bakery. There are always an assortment of treats and some surprising beverages you probably can’t find in many places, like icey Italitan granitas, cold cream (a cross between a latte and ice cream), and there’s usually a gelato available as well. Also catering to the health-conscious, Dayzzzs does homemade soup, fresh-squeezed juices and smoothies – all much appreciated by DNA Fitness gym members next door. Local offices and especially the Children’s Hospital staff, have discovered that Dayzzzs is perfect for catering their meetings and events, which Wendy diligently prepares and delivers herself.
While it may seem like Dayzzz’s is tackling a whole lot for a tiny business competing with Starbucks, Timmys, Second Cup and an entire food court a block away, it has kept customers coming back by giving them variety, freshness, simplicity, uniqueness and the indispensable quality of a small local business…heart.
1443 Lambert Closse
No website yet but you can find them on Facebook.