The owners of Little Burgundy watering hole Drinkerie Ste-Cunégonde are bringing a taste of their New Brunswickan roots to the neighbourhood later this month with the opening of Le Fricot, an Acadian seafood restaurant.
Under the leadership of partners Simon Dunn, Antoine Legault, Éric Le François and Alex Lejeune, the bar is named after the traditional Acadian stew, fricot, an unpretentious meal made with chicken, dumplings, and potatoes.
The restaurant’s menu will centre influences from Canada’s east coast — Dunn and head chef Alain Gauvin plan to serve modern takes on humble seafood dishes they know and love from back home.
“Classic Acadian food, or classic New Brunswick food, there’s no glory to it,” Dunn says. “The food there is great and there’s a lot of seasonal sea food and what not, but it’s also a lot of super basic food, like a lot of potatoes, a lot of deep fried stuff. So I wanted to take that and then twist it around so it’s more appealing, with fresh ingredients.”
“We kind of wanted to bring this and bring the pride behind that back to this kind of cooking,” he adds.
The menu’s flagship item will be a lobster roll — an item Dunn says is popular in New Brunswick, but hard to find in Montreal. They also plan to offer an array of variations on this roll, including a shrimp roll, a vegan roll, and seasonal rolls made with fresh seafood.
The wine list at Le Fricot, crafted by Maitre d’hôtel Karine Leblanc, will also include a number of imports from the Maritimes. While it’s not yet set in stone, Dunn says the wine selection will “have a little something for everyone.”
And in terms of space, Dunn and his team will operate Le Fricot out of one of two rooms within Drinkerie’s existing location. The rooms are joined, meaning patrons can easily move between the two spots, to, say, have a cocktail at Drinkerie while waiting for a table at Le Fricot.
“We’re really trying to make the most of our space,” Dunn says. “Instead of taking a new space and making the restaurant in a new space, we were like, ‘Well, we’ve got all this square footage right here,’ … it was being used, but mostly on weekends, and we were like ‘Why don’t we use this all the time?’”
In keeping with the restaurant’s culinary themes, Le Fricot will be decorated to look like a casual oceanside crab shack, with vintage beach decor throughout. The owners, who are big sports fans, are also planning to set up a television for broadcasting games, and will incorporate touches of sports memorabilia throughout the restaurant — without going full-on sports bar.
The team is on track to hold a soft opening by March 21, and will open to the public the week after. For Dunn, the opening is five years in the making — after spending years in the food service industry, he’s feeling “super excited” to see his vision come to fruition.
“This has been my pet project for like five years now,” Dunn says. “I’ve worked at restaurants, I’ve been in the kitchen, I’ve done service, I’ve done pretty much all the parts. Any job in a bar or restaurant I’ve done it. So I’m pretty excited to finally have a spot to call my own that’s gonna reflect the vision that I have for this.”
- Le Fricot [Facebook]
- All Drinkerie Ste-Cunégonde coverage [EMTL]
- Where to Eat, Drink, and Caffeinate in Little Burgundy [EMTL]