Gibeau Orange Julep - Gastro Obscura

Gibeau Orange Julep

The skyline of Montreal includes the silhouette of an unexpected fruit-shaped Canadian staple. 


What North American city skyline includes the likes of a giant orange? None other than the city of Montreal.

This giant orange that stands a monstrous three stories high and 40 feet wide started out as nothing but an ambitious “casse-croute” with a quirky, mysterious beverage to offer. It is now one of the oldest and most iconic fast-food joints in the city.

Hermas Gibeau founded the eatery in 1932 and named both it and his version of the staple orange julep drink after himself. The drink is a basic orange juice with a twist; a creamier and heartier version with the secret ingredient being powdered egg. The Gibeau serves the typical Quebecois “casse-croute” treats, including cheeseburgers, french fries, veggie dogs, and of course Quebec’s signature dish, poutine.

The Gibeau is among the ‘Top Ten Most Important Montreal Symbols’ according to the Montreal Gazette, the city’s main English language newspaper. From a distance, the Gibeau seems to be merely a place to pick up some quick grub in a kitschy setting, but it is now also a solid (and silly) part of Montreal history.

You can spot it from almost anywhere in the city, the food is cheap and plentiful, and it provides the perfect dose of nostalgia. Like so many other things so uniquely Canadian, what’s not to love?

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