Patrick Bouquet has developed the concept of a micro-brewery with the family, with the production of its own beers in situ, behind the glass overlooking the dining areas. After the opening of the first establishment on Avenue 83 in La Valette in 2016, we now go to “Chez Le Brasseur” in Toulon and Cannes.
The conviviality of Patrick Bouquet belies the adage (revisited for the occasion) “ who too much breaststroke badly embraces »… And he brews « homemade » beers in his establishments with specific DNA, this passionate Toulonnais! Very comfortable in the world of catering, he decided to embark on a new type of brewery following an exceptional rugby adventure as general manager of the RCT during the triumphant years 2008-2016.
Perpetuating a family business, he relied on the experience and precedence of his cousin in an establishment in Clermont-Ferrand opened since 2000 under another brand, to develop his Chez Le Brasseur concept here. With his wife and children (trained at the hotel school), he indeed manages the micro-brewery on Avenue 83, which opened in 2016 (49 people), those of Toulon since May 19 (30 people), and Cannes since July 5 (40 people). The “small” business is gaining momentum and market share in the economic landscape, despite the period of operation in degraded mode.
“ The new Toulon and Cannes projects were very advanced in January 2020, a few weeks before the onset of the crisis. Strengthened by this commitment, we did not want to back down ,” explains Patrick Bouquet. “ Nevertheless, we have suffered a lot for 18 months, doing the big back with 7 months of closure in Valletta because of the confinements, then through the various decisions of limitation of gauge to the terraces and pass-sanitary.
This last measure, after the temporary euphoria of July, put a brake on activity ”. Not easy when the openings are recent. However, the manager responsible has retained his workforce, reassured his staff, and tries to move forward despite adversity by being active and imaginative. ” I am convinced that restaurants are businesses that are essential to people’s lives, to their morale too. Closing them, like closing commerce in general, has left its mark on the social level. Through our presence, we are helping to overcome the difficulties of the time ”, he pleads, jointly deploring the effects of the crisis on vocations in his sector which is already a victim of a shortage of labor, including qualified.
In this particular context, Chez Le Brasseur in Toulon was therefore placed on the baptismal font in mid-May, knowing that its official inauguration is scheduled for September 23. A chosen place, highly coveted by many professionals, on the ground floor of the Okko hotel, in place of the former Caisse d’Epargne which had for a time become the headquarters of the inter-municipal authority. The site was completely renovated, requiring an investment of 2.5 million euros for the brewery part. ” I had wanted to open in Toulon, my city, for a long time, but I needed the appropriate and large enough location to deploy my concept of a restaurant installed in a beer factory.. These premises are perfect, in the upper town, near the train station, at the heart of the new dynamic in the city center that Toulon is experiencing. We are now participating. It is pride. In addition, we are part of a complement of offers. In our field, we must not be afraid of competition. The more restaurants there are, the greater the attractiveness. Everyone gets something out of it ,” emphasizes Patrick Bouquet.
Its branded beers, brewed in front of the consumer thanks to complete and qualitative equipment, on the basis of Belgian malt (among other properties), contribute largely to its attractiveness, precisely. Blonde, white, amber, brown, raspberry, or fig pressures, but also seasonal (spring, summer, Christmas), also sold to take away in bottles and kegs. The decoration of the restaurant is thought of as a reminder of the concept of beer production, with its pipes and its barrels in height or its brewing room visible from the interior spaces. The atmosphere, reproduced each time, is deliberately lounge. Wood dominates, the furniture contributes to the feeling of well-being, harmoniously served by soft lights. The prices charged are very affordable, the pressure is only on the glass… Or not if you prefer wine, with an interesting selection from Provence and other regions. As for the cuisine, “ there is something for everyone and always with generous portions. This is part of the conviviality that matters to us , ”claims the boss.
Beyond the specialty flammkuchen and personalized brasserie dishes, the menu is abundant in salads, starters, snacks, meats, fish, pasta, burgers, sauerkraut… Here, the quality/price ratio is neat, broadening the typology of customers, from the student to the retiree, passing by the businessman. This one can also privatize the superb Raimu lounge, imagined in a bistro inclination of the 30s, paying homage, photos and quotes in support, to the famous Toulon actor. A space for 30 seats, which completes the top of the range with a total capacity of 250 seats.
Finally, Chez Le Brasseur is open 7 days a week and even from 7 a.m. in Toulon for breakfast, transforming into added value its particularity linked to its geographical location close to office activity. If we add the services from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., then from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., this actually allows you to brew, people and beers!