If you're scoring at home, François Forest's latest joint marks the third venture for the hospitality and nightlife mogul in the past two months. Baron Samedi, which opens this Thursday, joins Henri Saint-Henri and Grenade in what has been a hectic summer for the serial entrepreneur.
Forest describes the Rosemont bar as an homage to New Orleans and Louisiana voodoo. (Baron Samedi - hammily, and memorably, played by Trinidadian actor Geoffrey Richard Holder in the 1973 James Bond film Live and Let Die - is a Loa, or spirit, in Haitian Vodou.)
Fittingly then, the Masson bar's décor leans heavily on voodoo, jazz and Bourbon Street tropes. Chef Mitch Brown, who was slated to work the kitchen at Brutus on Beaubien Est before that outfit's permit issues, reports that the menu is full of "snack type foods at a real good price."
"There's some interesting things like breaded fried frogs legs and crawfish bisque. All the meats are smoked and braised and really juicy. It's a bar but I've put lots of work into making great food for a good price. It's going to be spicy, savoury and very 'influenced' by Louisiana cuisine."
For his part, Forest will now take a rest and enjoy the fruits of his recent labours.
"Baron Samedi is my tenth project. Henri Saint-Henri was fun because I had many friends involved and it was a chance to help in a neighbourhood that was new for me. With Grenade I owned the building so that was a golden opportunity. Now with Baron Samedi it complements my other bar on Masson, Quai No. 4, and is close to where I live in Rosemont."
The businessman also pointed out that he isn't alone.
"With most of my bars I own approximately 60% with another partner. The rest is usually divided up in 10% chunks between managers, chefs and other staff. It's important that they're involved since younger people make up such a crucial part of the business."