In "Comme Chez Soi forced to close by condo construction next door", Gazette reporter Jesse Feith documents the troubles of a Mile End restaurateur at the apparent mercy of the city and developers.
Stéphane François' pub on Saint-Laurent below Saint-Viateur, a fixture since 2007, was overcome by detritus, jackhammers and machinery last November. As a new 20,000-square-foot project went up next door, access to Le Comme Chez Soi became obscure. François blames the sharp decline in customers on the work.
"Even under the best conditions the first few years of opening a restaurant is always a fight. There's seven years' worth of early mornings and late nights' work that went into this. It's just been one thing after another," the spent chef told the Gazette.
The failure to pay a Hydro-Québec bill led to the shutter of Le Comme Chez Soi two weeks ago. François has since sold off furniture and equipment to placate creditors and set up a drive to crowdfund $50,000 by the end of August. The restaurant's Kickstarter page comes with a new pledge and focus.
In partnership with the Comité de soutien au Comme chez soi, this campaign aims to save the restaurant's equipment so that Le Comme Chez Soi may continue producing the gluten- and lactose-free products currently sold at Mission Santé on Bernard and BioTerre on St-Viateur, in addition to adding catering services to its repertoire.
Our final goal is $50,000.
Once our $50,000 objective is reached, the Comité de soutien au Comme chez soi will focus its energies on supporting other small, independent Montreal businesses that are also dealing with poor city planning and hasty construction that endangers both their company and the community, notably by raising awareness at the municipal level and by educating the public about these situations that are destroying our neighbourhoods.