"I always considered myself just a soup man, but all of you have made me feel like I had the best job in the world. Thank you for spending special moments at our restaurant and trusting us over these decades."
After five decades at Le Mas des Oliviers on Bishop Street, that was the poignant remark that owner Jacques Muller made when he announced his retirement — and the restaurant's closure — a month ago.
The restaurant has hosted scores of prominent Montrealers, including former prime minister Brian Mulroney, who was reportedly a regular, and author Mordecai Richler.
A wall full of newspaper and magazine clippings are testament to the history within the cavern-like Provençale spot. And that history ends this week: Muller and his team will hang up their iconic black aprons after service on Saturday October 1.
Muller told the Gazette that after he empties the cellar and walks out the door, he won't look back. But for those more partial to nostalgia, this gallery, taken on one of the restaurant's final nights as customers packed the tables to bid Muller farewell, can immortalize some of the history within the restaurant's walls.