January 22, 2018 3 min read
Chez Eugène Café recently opened its doors on Champlain Street, just a few steps south of Sainte-Catherine. We took the opportunity to ask the owners a few questions and learn more about their family-run restaurant, with a coffee in hand of course!
We grew up in restaurants. Our parents had a restaurant for over twenty years, so we were raised in that environment. The café was a project we had been dreaming of for ten years. We longed to get back in touch with our early passions, but it was all a question of timing. One day, my brother approached me with the idea and sure enough, the timing was just right.
Eugène was our paternal grandfather. He was a man of few words who was always in his own little world. But after a glass of wine or two, he would open up. He loved hosting and being surrounded by friends and family. Those are values he instilled in my father. Though my parents owned a restaurant, they often had friends over for dinner on weeknights. It was always a big event, and today, at 80 years old, my father still plans his own birthday parties! The one he threw for his 75th was a huge bash. We named our café Eugène as a nod to the art of hosting. My brother and I definitely inherited that passion, and we wanted the coffee shop to reflect our values: people come to see us just as they would visit a friend.
From the coffee menu, definitely a latte. Even though a client once told me that putting milk in coffee is a crime! As for our food menu, I wouldn’t know how to choose from such a great selection! We have sandwiches as well as a variety of hot meals. Right now, we’re serving our fresh salmon with creamed leeks. It’s so decadent and comforting. Our menu is made up of top-quality products, right down to our delicious sandwiches.
Family. Even the art in our café reflects this core value. Artists have come to see us offering to display their artwork as decoration, but that’s not what we were going for. We want art that reflects our love for our family.
Very eclectic. We get actors, students, businesspeople in the morning, people of all ages; and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We don’t have a target clientele per se, and we wouldn’t want anyone to feel left out. We truly want people to come and visit us the same way they would stop in to see a friend.
Stéphanie: a latte in the morning and one in the afternoon.
Jean-François: a short espresso right before the lunch rush for a boost, and another midafternoon.
Stéphanie: Honestly, I published my second-ever Instagram post just yesterday. I used to use Facebook more, without being very active. We prefer in-person communication, we’re old-fashioned.
Jean-François: After 20 years of working with the public, I’m very much geared toward human contact. I don’t use social media very much, I’m old school!
I refrained from asking them the last question on my list, because the answer was so obvious that I could feel it in their responses to my other questions. They had that unmistakable sparkle in their eyes. After just ten minutes of speaking with the owners, we know what they would say. “Is opening Chez Eugène a dream come true for you?”: absolutely yes.