For years the blue banner signaling Rotisserie Fusee’s presence in Montreal’s Central Station was a landmark presence, allowing one and all who passed through “La Gare Centrale” to know that succulent rotisserie chicken was just a mere few paces from the tracks and the long lines of waiting travellers. For 23 years to be exact, this restaurant flourished and rose to prominence amidst a food court that promised diversity and tasty treats from all cuisines the world over.
The effects of Covid-19 on Central Station
To say that central station was hit hard would be putting it way too mildly. Covid-19 did a pretty good job of putting a stop to a lot of progress all over the city, but the effects it had on Central Station were in fact tantamount and the damage felt by one and all is unavoidable. All restaurants below were hit, their numbers dropping considerably, even pillars of the Central Station restaurants like Fusee and the long-standing and much respected Daily Planet.
A Brief outstanding history
Fusee was formed on a partnership forged in a rich history. The former group of owners which included Yves Lalime and two other partners he met while they were all employees at the former pillar of Montréal rotisserie, Rotisserie Laurier. This restaurant made quite a bit f noise a few years back when it was purchased by none other than Chef Gordon Ramsey and ultimately turned into Ramsay Rotisserie, now defunct.
Together with his partners and staff, Lalime turned his franchise into a pillar of the D-Town core, where they supplied food to many of the local offices and put out large orders at an overwhelming speed—such capabilities included 500 poutines in under 30 minutes, delivered of course to happy customers.
What of Fusee in this era of pandemic?
You will not be seeing Fusee Rotisserie, but in its place stands Au Coq, but rest assured that the primary owner of the previous restaurant, Yves Lalime is at the helm of this restaurant as well, along with the original and longstanding Chef from Fusee. So in the end, it’s just a simple banner change … the dedication to exceptional rotisserie chicken is still present, as is the dedication to service, which I witnessed first-hand.
I was there on the first day of their re-opening, and many people showed up. The minute clients saw that the gate was pulled and the lights were on, shining onto the new décor, they showed up in moderate droves, and it was back to business as usual. Many clients even recognizing Yves Lalime and members of his staff, who was always an active owner in the previous franchise and plans to be at the helm of this new banner as well. It was warm to see, the clients and owner happy to be back in the mold of he providing a service and the consumption of it on the other side, the client’s side. And it was nice to see some sort of regularity return in those halls below the earth’s surface in D-Town.
Other restaurants in the Gare
You know there’s a problem when McDonald’s is closed, which it is at Central Station, or rather it was on the day I went down to cover this story. Overall, they have done well as a conglomerate in spite of Covid-19 … many take-out lines all over the city full, even at the height of the virus. But the fact that the company decided to close the Central Station local, it sends a pretty severe message.
Other restaurants and outlets are still serving up their menus, abiding by the rules set up by the pandemic and things will hopefully be getting back to normal soon enough—we can only hope. With the threat of a second wave coming, though, we can only hold our breath and wait for the proverbial other shoe to drop.
In all honesty, we hope it passes us all by, and in the meantime …visit Central Station in Montréal, and support local food, as they’re all willing and able to serve you with a smile … and be sure to visit the newly opened Au Coq, where experience and dedication will be tasted in the food—trust old Domenic on that one … I can surely attest.
Feature image: From right to left: Owner Yves Lalime, Co-owner Nathalie Chartrand, and long-time employees, Eduardo Campos and Valentin Georgiev—standing proud after a good first service back in operation under the new banner