painting of Copoli restaurant courtesy of Westmount artist Susie Fairbrother
Without a lot of fanfare Restaurant Copoli Westmount slipped into the lower Westmount neighbourhood at 4458 Catherine Street West and Metcalfe Avenue on March 21, 1997. Twenty years later the diner with a personality is so busy serving customers, the anniversary date slipped by, again without a lot of fanfare, until a client happened to ask owner Hossein Fakournovin how long he had been in business. Hossein stopped what he was doing, thought about it and realized it had been 20 years…that day.
For Hossein, Copoli is not just a business, a restaurant… it has become an extended family, one which his wife Wendy and five year old son Jonathon visit for dinner almost daily after work and school.
The restaurant has become popular in the neighbourhood… with its population of senior seniors from nearby apartment buildings and two senior residences, students who come for take out and sit down lunches daily from not only Westmount High School, but also the International School blocks away. And of course the residents and business people who live and work in the community.
So popular not only with the students but with teachers and administration, in 197/98 Vanguard High School, formerly at Metcalfe and Hillside avenues, lauded Hossein with the Vanguard International High School Honor plaque for “the kindness and respect shown to students and staff.”
Over the years Copoli Restaurant Westmount has been voted the best pizza in Westmount and recognized for serving the largest hamburgers in Montreal. But he has not been recognized for his commitment to healthy eating. In spite of a typical diner menu of burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and more, Hossein and his staff are sticklers for details. Not a fan of bottled salad dressing, Hossein and his team blend all natural ingredients for his house dressing. And to wrap those large beef, veggie or cheese burgers his staff bake Copoli’s own hamburger buns. Soup and salad or sandwich…a bowl of home made house vegetable soup served alone or alongside a healthy salad,submarine sandwich, pasta, or a souvlaki platter.And to wash it all down there is a fully stocked soft drink and juice cooler, an optional bottle of beer or a bottomless cup of coffee.
Don’t be surprised if you go in for lunch and the place is packed with loud students … I generally wait until 1 p.m. On Saturdays the restaurant is filled with regulars who have become accustomed to starting their weekends with a hearty Copoli breakfast. Hossein serves breakfast every morning from 7 to 11 a.m., Saturdays until 3 p.m. A full menu of eggs and omelettes, and French toast, all served with homemade potatoes, optional bacon or sausages or a side salad, and an optional bottomless cup of coffee. in addition to optional specialty coffees.
Most clients don’t mind the hyped up voices of the students, and too often the non-students. “They enjoy the noise. After a couple of minutes they have become part of what is going on and have forgotten any problems they may have come in with,” says Hossein about the Copoli ambiance.
Like so many restaurateurs, Hossein is just there, all day, six days a week. An architect by education, Hossein understands hard work. He came to Canada from Iran via a few years in Belgium. In Canada, where his architectural license was not recognized, he did odd jobs before being hired to work in a pharmaceutical analysis lab. But his heart was always in owning a restaurant, so working with a few associates, he opened Copoli Westmount, one of three original sites. Today he is the sole owner and is happily living his dream.
Hossein has not forgotten the 20th anniversary however. During the month of April, when Around Westmount readers go to Copoli Westmount to enjoy a pizza or a burger, if they ask for it, they will receive a 10% discount on either or both orders. A test to find out if you are reading this. And a way to celebrate 20 years of good eating in the community… Westmount’s own Cheers where every body knows your name. Enjoy.