Dans le cadre du projet Portraits de commerçant.e.s & de professionnel.le.s de Côte-des-Neiges (3e édition) nous avons invité Francis Faubert Cloutier afin de nous accompagner dans la visite de 10 commerces et entreprises de la SDC Côte-des-Neiges qui ont participé au projet.

Interview with Vincent and Nora | Portraits of merchants & professionals of Côte-des-Neiges

Find out more about your local Côte-des-Neiges merchants and professionals! // Looking back on our meeting with :
Vincent Morais et Nora Sanchez, Owners of Brûlerie Urbaine

La Brûlerie Urbaine – The Passion to Renew a Piece of History

It’s truly a privilege to meet Vincent Morais, the owner of La Brûlerie Urbaine, and his wife, Nora Sanchez. The couple exudes a captivating magnetism and camaraderie.

The establishment is, above all, a significant piece of Côte-des-Neiges’ history. “La Brûlerie was one of the first businesses to open on the street in the early 90s,” Vincent emphasizes. The former Esso garage transformed into a coffee roaster was, at the time, the only café and thus, an important gathering place for people.

“It wasn’t in great condition when we bought it. It was very run down,” Nora recounts. But for them, the historical dimension was crucial. “I came here as a customer to eat, and I thought there was something to be done with this place,” Vincent adds.

For the roasting specialist, this marked a career transition. An engineer in metallurgy for over 30 years, Vincent was job hunting before acquiring the café in 2016. “I was aiming high. I couldn’t find anything that pleased me. I didn’t want to wait; I’m not patient,” he confesses.

Considered by many as Montreal’s hidden coffee gem, at La Brûlerie Urbaine, the roasting process isn’t computerized. “It’s done by sight, smell, and sound,” Vincent explains with passion. According to Nora, this is where you’ll find the widest variety of coffee beans in Quebec. Over forty different types sourced from all around the world! Interestingly, the darker the coffee, the more roasted it is, the more bitter it is, and the less caffeine it contains. In contrast, lighter coffees, known as third wave, are more flavorful and have higher caffeine content.

On the menu, the couple emphasizes freshness. The majority of desserts, sauces, and mixes are homemade. The dishes are developed in collaboration. “I handle the savory, she handles the sweet,” Vincent says. “I listen to what people desire a lot,” Nora adds. She creates dishes that cater to requests: less sugar, fresh ingredients, etc. Both partners are true gourmets who have explored numerous restaurants around the world. “We project ourselves and our experiences into what we offer,” Nora shares, also being a history teacher.

La Brûlerie Urbaine is not just a café or a restaurant; it’s also a place for exchange and culture. The social dimension is vital for the couple. “I would like to organize knitting nights, musician get-togethers, and improvisation evenings so the café can help break down loneliness” Nora reveals. She, in fact, possesses a well-honed artistic side, as her paintings adorn the café’s walls.

Ultimately, what makes the partners strong and ensures the success of La Brûlerie, despite challenges, is “our ability to not accept defeat, to keep going,” Nora declares. “We’re not the most popular restaurant, nor the fanciest, but we’re proud, we’ve worked really hard. And our experiences have brought us here,” she concludes.

According to the couple, the word that best characterizes the Côte-des-Neiges neighborhood is “multicultural.”

Copywriter: Francis Faubert Cloutier

Photographer: Gaelle Leroyer

Art direction: Félicia Balzano (SDC Côte-des-Neiges)

Complete the experience by visiting the free exhibition from September 7 to December 5, 2023.


After a great success in 2021 and 2022, the SDC Côte-des-Neiges is proud to present the third anniversary edition of its Portraits of merchants & professionals of Côte-des-Neiges project through an exhibition on the Promenade Jean-Brillant from September 7 to December 5, 2023, as well as online interviews accessible via QR code on each panel.

The aim of this initiative is to put citizens in touch with businesses in the territory of the Société de développement commercial (SDC) Côte-des-Neiges. Through a series of portraits of 10 shops and businesses, we get to know 14 local business owners and managers. This social and cultural project is a real encounter with the human side of business life.

In this third edition, you’ll discover men and women, young professionals and established entrepreneurs, all from different cultures and backgrounds, with a diverse range of commercial offerings. The common denominator? Their love for Côte-des-Neiges.

This project is an initiative of the SDC Côte-des-Neiges, made possible through collaboration with the Maison de la culture CDN and the borough of Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce.