David DiRaddo, the new director of operations for Nickels Restaurants in Quebec, is a life-long Laval resident who has spent his entire professional career in the food industry.
DiRaddo was recently hired by Foodtastic to oversee the 11 Nickels locations and counting, as well as four Carlos and Pepe’s spots and a growing Peruvian food court favorite called Sandouchon. Foodtastic also has Souvlaki Bar, La Belle & La Boeuf, Vinnie Gambini, Bacaro, Gattomatto, Le Blossom and soon a well-known pizza chain.
The Nickels location at Centre Laval has been a mainstay for years. Across the bridge from Laval you will find a new Nickels in St. Leonard. DiRaddo’s arrival at Foodtastic coincided with the opening of the brand’s first ever Express food court franchise at Place Vertu in. St. Laurent. The menu is naturally more limited than one of the sit-down versions, but judging from the regular lineups since the October opening this concept is a giant success. I joined DiRaddo for lunch there recently and if I closed my eyes I would not have known that the piping hot Star smoked sandwich, the Jimmy Dean 100 percent Angus beef burger and the Philly steak sub did not come from a big kitchen. Ditto for the dessert, a huge piece of Celine Dion chocolate cake.
DiRaddo previously worked for Beso Catering, running their all kosher Resto Carrefour HGJ food court at the Jewish General Hospital . He started off in the restaurant business working for Red Lobster in Quebec as a busboy, bartender and cashier. After 10 years he moved to the Starbucks location at Dorval Trudeau Airport and then the head office for Starbucks in Quebec. In total that association lasted 15 years. Next was a three year stint as a supervisor for the growing BeaverTails pastry.
DiRaddo’s son Dylan has caught the food industry bug and works as a chef at Gattomatto, the trendy new dining spot at Place Bell.