The giant three-storey orange located on the busy Decarie Expressway which doubles as a restaurant stands out in a sea of grey — and even more so on Wednesday nights in the spring and summer.
That's when the kooky snack bar's parking lot is taken over by car fanatics, the smell of french fries and the rumble of engines: it's the Orange Julep's weekly classic car meet-up.
On Wednesday evenings from May to September, Montrealers of all ages come by to check out the many vehicles that congregate in the restaurant's round parking lot.
Fabien Haddad's "baby" — a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air that matches the orange sphere almost perfectly — is always a crowd pleaser.
Haddad has been coming to the "Big Orange" meet-ups since 2007, the year he purchased the car.
Wednesday night meet-ups are a regular outing for Rebel Ridez, the classic car club to which he belongs.
Haddad is one of many car owners who entered the diner's weekly contest on June 1. Participants have the chance to win one of five "best car" categories: '60s, '70s, '80s, Corvette, and most memorable. The winners, determined by the restaurant and usually announced around sundown, get a trophy and a meal on the house.
Haddad has won more than 15 times.
"I've got so many trophies, I don't know where to put them," he said.
Getting a classic car was Haddad's dream for over 30 years. Now that he finally has it, he spends endless hours keeping it perfectly polished and never takes it out if it's raining.
"Somebody says to me, 'Do you want to sell it?' And I say, 'No, I'll sell the wife and the kids first!'" he joked.
Serge Bergeron doesn't have just one "baby." He's been attending the car show with his wife Line Champagne for over 15 years (and now with their puppy, Elle Woods) with many different cars. These include a 1960 Bel Air, a 1967 Impala, a 1978 Camaro, two Corvettes ('72 and '79), and a 1949 Plymouth.
This evening he was proudly showing off his matte-black 1950 Mercury.
Just a few metres from Bergeron and Champagne, Michael Neilson saw his dream car: a '77 Trans Am.
"I grew up loving that car," said Neilson.
"If you saw one on the road you stopped and talked to the guy because it's just a cool car to have. Everyone wants to be Burt Reynolds."
Neilson has been visiting the car show for 20 years. He still owns the candy-apple-red 1981 Camaro he purchased for $800 back in 1998, and loves to bring it by the Orange Julep on Wednesdays. But this week he just wanted to check out other people's wheels.
Unforgettable classic cars aren't the only reason to stop by the Orange Julep: the snack bar's timeless menu is an attraction in itself. The diner is best known for its sweet, frothy, creamy orange julep concoction. The top-secret recipe has been kept in the Gibeau family since the '30s.
As for the rest of the menu, ice cream and frappes (a blend of vanilla ice cream and orange julep) are obvious crowd pleasers in the summer months. Other options include hot dogs, corn dogs, burgers, spaghetti, club sandwiches, smoked meat, grilled cheese, veggie dogs and burgers and, of course, poutine.
For the car fanatics that come by on Wednesdays, the food is just another plus.
Bergeron and Champagne never drive off from the Big Orange without a litre of sweet, creamy OJ.
As for Haddad, he and the Rebel Ridez gang always grab a bite at the Orange Julep on Wednesdays. But, of course, they never, ever, eat in their cars.
If You Go...
Gibeau Orange Julep is located at 7700 Boulevard Decarie in Montreal. The weekly classic car meet-ups run May to September from about 7 p.m. to sundown.