The legendary Bistro à Champlain will serve its last customers next month in Sainte-Marguerite-du-Lac-Masson in the Laurentians. After four decades at the helm, the restaurant's larger than life 83-year-old patron has decided to take his retirement with wife Monique Nadeau.
We spoke to Champlain Charest today about what the future holds for Bistro à Champlain and his world-class wine cellar.
Can you describe your emotional state as you prepare to close Bistro à Champlain?
Well, I'm not too happy to be honest. This was my life for the past 40 years. Wine and the restaurant. But I'm at an age now when it's time to move on. I didn't want it to get to the point where I'd have succession problems.
Can you comment on the rumor that the Estérel Resort will purchase part of your wine cellar and that the restaurant will live on, in a sense, in the hotel?
Yes, it looks like that will happen. The arrangement is that the hotel will take about 7,000 bottles, under my name. It's a continuation of sorts.
But surely you own many more bottles than that.
Oh yes. I'm keeping some bottles for my own personal collection, to enjoy for myself.
Will Bistro à Champlain throw an official farewell?
No, nothing formal like that. It's a death that I don't want to celebrate. But our last service will be on November 2 so throughout the month of October I expect we'll be surrounded by many friends and well-wishers. After that people can come enjoy a glass of wine with me at the Estérel.
· Bistro à Champlain [Official Site]
· SAQ achète plus du tiers de la collection de Champlain Charest [SAQ]
· Legendary Bistro à Champlain to Close [-EMTL-]