If you’ve been following the burgeoning food scene in Hamilton, you’ve probably heard of (or seen across the bar) Dave Fauteux. The force behind many of The Other Bird restaurant group’s successful openings, Fauteux nestled into the company five years ago.
In his role as Manager of Operations, he helped The Other Bird expand with new restaurants in Hamilton, Burlington, London, and Paris, ON. Acting as project manager during this time of growth really helped to reignite Fauteux’s passion for the restaurant industry, as he was considering making the move to real estate before starting at the company (we’re happy he stuck with this course!).
Now, five years after the fortuitous move, Fauteux has set out with operating partner Jordanna Cvitkovic with an idea to bring a dining experience unlike one Hamilton has seen: the Bon Temps restaurant. Set to be located in the building that was formerly Rapscallion Rogue Eatery, Fauteux knew he wanted to open a restaurant in the city, “Hamilton has been a land of opportunity for me,” he says. “I love this city and how much it’s changed.” And with his involvement in helping to propel the gastro movement in Hamilton, he’s a great fit.
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Featuring French-style cuisine, what will make this latest endeavor most unique is the concept it will operate under — L’Ordre de Bon Temps or the Order of Good Cheer. As a French-Canadian from Ottawa, this is right up Fauteux’s alley. The Order was founded in 1606 by Samuel de Champlain in Port Royal, Nova Scotia. After arriving from France to the East Coast, the settlers were cold, sick with scurvy, and depressed. To lift spirits, they enacted the Order which was a weekly food and entertainment celebration that occurred throughout the frigid winter months. Members took turns hunting, preparing the feast, and leading a ceremonial procession to the table.
The exceptional thing about the Order was that it was completely inclusive; settlers invited the natives on the land to join them in the revelry as well. The idea was to bring people — all people — together through food. And this sentiment is something Fauteux wants his new space to embody.
Though the Order is rooted in staying merry during the winter months, Bon Temps will be a restaurant to suit Hamiltonians year-round. Guests can expect small plates, French-style cooking, a robust bar program, and of course, Canadian ingredients. The wine list will feature varietals from France, Italy, and Canada. Keeping in line with the inclusiveness of the Order of Good Cheer, the menu will feature vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options to accommodate diverse diets.
Opening at 4 pm daily, the restaurant will provide after-work and dinner service for both reservations and walk-ins, a four-person chef’s table, as well as a late-night menu that will rotate with the seasons. Patrons in groups six or larger will also have the opportunity to dine with a prix fixe menu for an experience reminiscent of the original L’Ordre de Bon Temps meals. Food will be served in a way that will mimic the feel of a feast at home.
Diners can look forward to changes in both the interior design and the building facade. Black walls with millwork, a new colour scheme, and lantern sconces will set the character of the venue. Fauteux will also be a constant behind the bar, as he explains “It’s nice to see the owner in the space; it adds something authentic.” Aiming for an opening date at the end of March 2019, late-night fondue will be part of the opening menu to warm up clients as winter comes to an end.
Bon Temps will also be the official food and beverage partner for the Vintage Marketplace at the Hamilton Convention Centre on April 6th and 7th. Enjoy shopping some of Hamilton’s best vintage vendors and enjoy tasty food and drink while you browse.
To get a taste before the restaurant opens, attend the upcoming Bon Temps Supper Club on March 16th at the Hamilton Armouries on James Street North. Tickets include a five-course meal with wine pairings, live music, and a cash bar. Head to bruha.com for more information.
Stay up to date with the Bon Temps opening by following them on Instagram @bontempsrestaurant.