Risa D hosted the first ever Yelp event in Montreal and has since hosted over 100 more, and this fall she celebrates 5 years as the Yelp Montreal Community Manager! Generally you can find her chatting up the old folks in her community garden, or poking around thrift shops in her Little Italy neighbourhood.
What did you do before you worked for Yelp?
I had finished an MA in Media Studies, was producing shows for an indie arts network I had founded, and had just left an LA-based start-up when I found out about the Yelp job. The idea of getting to do more community building in Montreal while spotlighting local business owners made me so happy. Still does!
What is your favorite thing about representing Montreal on Yelp?
Montreal is a City of Design, a city of festivals, a city of balconies and picnics. Montreal has more restaurants per capita than anywhere in North America (outside of New York) and yet only two seasons: winter and construction. It’s contradictory, frustrating, passionate and inspiring. I moved around a lot when I was little but we stopped moving when we landed here, and I’ve been a Montrealer ever since.
What’s a great local business that you discovered because of Yelp?
Montreal Yelpers teach me new stuff literally all the time. Not too long ago a Yelper invited us to check out a Taiwanese soup place he’d found called Maison Mignon. We freaked on the cozy deliciousness of this perfect beef noodle soup and since then Maison Mignon has jumped from 1 review to 20+! It is so wonderful to see a super friendly – and soup-gifted – couple get the appreciation they deserve.
How would you spend a perfect Saturday in Montreal?
There are so many perfect days. One version: we start with coffee from Cafe Odessa up in Little Italy, enjoy it in the sun on the new public terrasse the city has added there, then bike around a bit (we have lovely bike lanes, and our bike share program Bixi has been imported to 15+ cities around the world!) Next, we’d grab brunch at Le Butterblume, then we could go for a swim in one of our lovely public outdoor pools. We could hit the one in Laurier Park and play on the ping pong tables! Then we’d bike up to Jean-Talon Market to grab picnic supplies and head to Jarry Park for a BBQ picnic under the willow trees by the pond. After sunset maybe go play on the vintage pinball games at North Star, or catch a burlesque show and some perfect cocktails at Wiggle Room.
If you could take one local celebrity to lunch, where would you go and with whom?
Gah. Leonard Cohen! PK Subban! Celine Dion! I can’t choose one. I would like to take all 3 of the above to the wine bar upstairs at Marche Des Eclusiers to watch the boats go through the locks and share stories from this heart-breaker of a town.