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Le Project and Le Sacrement, Quebec City

Member Since: 
February, 2014

For innovation, start with a wide range of local menu ingredient suppliers for two popular Quebec City Bistros.

Then, add in local beer sourced from multiple regional specialty brewmasters. The result is that you have restaurant menu innovation on tap.

"Le Project" and "Le Sacrement” are two 70-80-seat bistros with a common bistro menu approach. Both bistros are located in two separate locations near "Lower Town" in Quebec City, one of Canada's most popular tourist attractions. 

Nathan Walsh, a chef for over 15 years, is now an owner manager who says that he and his partner groups in the bistros ownership came together with a shared vision. Their original vision was to " make a place where we would want to go to for a beer.  A place where we could visit with friends, hang out and have a few beers, and something good to eat, but at a reasonable cost". 

"That concept of friends meeting over a beer and burger was our business plan," says Nathan. 

"It must be working.  We are busy late into the night when other high-end restaurants in the tourist row on the Grande Allee are not. We also know of two more bistros that are similar in concept to ours, and they are going to open soon”. 

"We innovated in two ways when we started. We sourced locally brewed beers, and we are sourcing as much as we can of our menu ingredients from regional suppliers and growers around Quebec. Our customers love this approach and often compliment us for our effort," says Nathan.

"We feature various microbrewery production beers with our food and our locations, and they benefit from the introduction to our customers."

The two bistros share their restaurant business formula and Nathan. Nathan says he and his initial group of four partners were local brewed beer lovers. 

When Le Project opened, they sought out beer brewmasters unique to Quebec's regions.  As a result, Le Project has 24 different beers on tap, and there are 18 on tap at Le Sacrement. Each of these multiple taps are often changed with different beer tastes from each microbrewery giving a wide range of taste to experiment. 

"Both of our bistros are popular for their local and always fresh ingredients approach as well as for their constantly changing beer tasting offerings. Our customers love to experiment with the beers and the menu".

Nathan helps to lead a team effort behind both locations despite each having a different ownership group. Le Project was the first to develop in early 2014, with its unique menu items and beer taster’s bonanza. 

"We make our burgers by hand, and our buns are from a nearby bakery. We buy from local farmers, and while it is difficult and costly to do, our customers keep coming back and rewarding us for our efforts. Even before we opened, we had great popularity on Facebook because we were offering something different".

"Facebook is critical to our business. We can promote and inform customers for free, where before we had to purchase ads in papers and magazines. Now, one of the partner members puts a lot of effort into promoting our menu specials, and our beer promotions on Facebook. We use Facebook to keep our name and locations in front of our customers", says Nathan.   

We save a lot of money using social media, especially Facebook, he says. 

"We joined UNIPCO to help us save money on our side orders of items that we need for our menus like french fries. We have only been with them for a short time, but we liked that they (UNIPCO) understood our need to use local produce to make our menu unique. They are flexible and that was important to us. We use four local suppliers for our burgers alone, which is one of our most popular menu items".

"We find customers today are asking for local ingredients. Customers tell us that they like knowing that the cheese on their burger and other ingredients are local. We buy a lot from all regions; it is a big part of our menu's success formula".

"Small spaces mean a small kitchen, and as a result, we feature our menu specials a lot, but we keep the number of menu items small so we can do a few recipes well. We are open from 11:30 am to late evening and reduce the menu after 10 pm while during weekends we are often open until 2 am".

Le Project opened in February of 2014 and was a significant innovation gamble with the menu offering in a highly competitive Quebec City restaurant marketplace. The group opted to redefine a Quebec City Bistro restaurant.

Le Project's interior architecture celebrates it previous historic role as an early financial institution branch office with old broad wall moldings, high decorative ceilings, and historical wall artifacts.

Le Sacrement opened in June of 2015 with a different group of owners including Nathan, and is based on the Le Project restaurant model. Le Sacrement has a large glass garage door that opens up in-season for a sidewalk patio of up to 18 seats. 

Popular menu items and best sellers are their handcrafted burgers with fries. A close tie in popularity with traditional Quebec Poutine, complete with a secret sauce Nathan and his team developed.  Other offerings include homemade beer barbecue sauce on pulled ribs, as well as special cheese curds from a Victoriaville cheese producer. 

Imagine a place you would like to go often, and hang out to eat and drink craft beer with friends, and you got what makes Le Project and Le Sacrement so special to Quebec City.

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