The iconic retro snack-shack food — as well as the look and feel — that made the old Jean Burger in Wakefield so beloved will remain as prominent as ever under the restaurant's new owners, Isaac Lauzon and Eric Duquette.
The owners said they are keeping almost everything the same — the name, the colour scheme, the interior decor, and for the most part, the food as well. According to Lauzon, this is due to the fact that Jean Burger has earned a unique reputation within the Wakefield community; one that he and Duquette said they will strive to maintain. Their poutine, either white or brown gravy, was legendary in the Hills.
However, they have decided to elevate a few of the restaurant’s elements in their own way. One of these ways, says Lauzon, is through an expanded menu.
“We want to bring the food just a little bit higher,” he said. By this, he said, he means adding more quality food items to the menu. Among other meal items, he said they plan to offer fish and chips and smash burgers, a trendy food item that involves ‘smashing’ a burger patty on the grill so that it becomes thinner.
Lauzon and Duquette have teamed up to reopen Jean Burger following their previous work experience at the Chelsea Pub, where Lauzon was a director and Duquette was a bartender. They have also brought on a third partner, Patrick Power. As soon as they saw that Jean Burger was for sale, Lauzon said they saw potential and jumped on the opportunity.
Since purchasing the place, Lauzon expressed that the more he has learned about the Wakefield community, the more he understands how much of a staple Jean Burger was. Before closing in 2021 under previous owners, Jean Burger had been serving customers in the area for over 40 years.
When the restaurant finally opens – which Lauzon said is expected to happen by Canada Day, July 1 – he is looking forward to hearing feedback from visitors.
“We can’t wait to meet the clients,” he said. “[We] want people who used to come here to look at the menu and say if maybe there’s something missing that they liked in the past.”
Lauzon explained that they will be opening the restaurant with a “starter pack” menu, consisting of all the classic meals that Jean Burger has been known for over the years — including their famous poutine. Then, he stated that they will, hopefully, be able to expand beyond that, once they get more adjusted.
“We will want to add on, as we recruit staff and as we grow,” said Lauzon.
The biggest change that is being made to Jean Burger is a new bar space, which he mentioned is in the works. The trio are currently applying for an alcohol license, and have said they have plans to open up the space next to the kitchen into a bar, where they will serve beer on tap and other alcoholic drinks. Lauzon added that they are trying to get the bar done by fall, at the latest, but said that having it open in the summer would be ideal.
Although these new additions to the restaurant are not yet complete, customers can still enjoy some of Jean Burger’s classic meals as early as this coming weekend, July 1.