Interview With Café Lézard

November 13, 2017 3 min read

Entrevue avec le Café Lézard - Café Barista

Amélie sat down with Rachel Chevalier-Richard, owner of the Café Lézard for one year, but manager for the sixteen years prior. In fact, she worked the very first shift at Lézard!

What’s the History of Lézard?

Rosemont wasn’t very chic 16 or 17 years ago. It was mainly pawn shops and Dollaramas surrounding us. There was a bagel place across the street...that’s pretty much it. Danielle, the original owner, was breaking out of a very corporate, business world. She joined forces with a friend, Jean-Marc, who had been a restaurateur for 30 years.

And Why ‘Lézard’?

Danielle chose it because it comes from the French lézarder, meaning to bask in the sun and recharge your batteries. It’s a very large space. There aren't many 80-seat restaurants where there's room to chill for five hours, without pressure, without the bill being brought to the table. I could change the name, but I won’t at this point! It’s been around for too long now. There are people who I’ve been serving for 15 years. Even just changing the colours of the walls, painting the ceiling, it shook up some of the locals.

What are Café Lézard’s Values?

To be tightly woven, to be close to people. We see our customers every day, every week. There are ladies who come in every Wednesday after the gym to eat their goat cheese salad. Everyone has their own Café Lézard ritual. There are artists who write their whole lives. There are many artist types here, and people who are self-employed, etc.

Is the Customer Base Heterogeneous?

I don't think there’s a more diverse clientele than here, it’s crazy! And a great thing, I really think it’s the key to our success. There’s an older population coming in for an afternoon americano, wanting filtered coffee but not getting it, then we explain to them why and the differences, as much as there are others who want to stay for a nice bottle of wine.

What’s a Must Try on Your Menu?

The warm goat salad. It’s so good. It’s really a great salad. Other than that, the burritos are really great, some of my customers have only ever had the burritos every time they come in. The onion soup is to die for.

Your Favourite Drink?

I drink a black espresso. I like my ‘half’ long, and my friends laugh at me! But when I’m feeling adventurous, I’ll have a cortado.

When’s the Perfect Time for an Espresso?

I don’t generally have a coffee addiction. I don't drink coffee in the morning, coffee for me is a flavour pleasure, not a sensory one. So it’s after my dinner. Once I’ve had my coffee, I’m not having any more wine. For me, it’s something to finish with.

Are You More Facebook or Instagram?

I'm more Facebook, but life makes it so that I have to be on Instagram. It drives me nuts! I wouldn't say it’s superfluous, but I'm from the generation that started with Facebook. On the other hand, all the visual identity here is working. It just takes time and willpower!

Did You Fulfill Your Dreams by Acquiring the Lézard?

I’m not sure...that’s a great question! It was so unexpected. I was always in the restaurant business, then in Montreal it became a free-for-all, anyone could open anything with all kinds of experiences...I wouldn't have bought a restaurant if it hadn't been the Lézard. Yes, it’s a dream, but maybe not the last one I’ll have. But for now, I live with it, I take it, and I do what I want with it. Especially that part; being proud and content with my restaurant.

How Would You Describe the Vibe at Café Lézard in a Few Words?

People are at home here. So it just depends on how people feel. We adapt to everyone all the time. As much as there can be classical music playing, there are live jazz bands on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. There are so many possibilities for ambiance here. Sometimes there isn’t a sound in the room because people are working; other times, it’s a party, people are drinking bubbles, it’s fun.

Any Upcoming Projects?

We’re talking about redoing the kitchen. We have two stoves in the kitchen, that's all we have. And behind the counter we have a microwave, an overhead broiler and a panini grill. We’re making miracles here with what little we have! That doesn’t mean we’ll be making bavettes any time soon, but it’s in our plans, in two, maybe three years’ time. It’s coming. We’d also love to extend the bar area for our staff. We have good problems!

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