City bistro reopens with an American twist
After closing the doors on the Beau Rivage restaurant, award-winning chef Jean-Claude Garzia is staying focused on serving up tasty food for customers at JC’s Bistro and JC’s Café in Hamilton.
And the bistro, which was previously a French dining experience, is now styled as an American diner with an American dinner menu.
Mr Garzia is hopeful that customer numbers will continue to rise as more office workers return to the city.
The bistro is on Victoria Street, and when it first opened it was referred to as an “everybody place”.
It was closed during the Covid-19 pandemic, but has now reopened for lunch and dinner six days a week. It also serves office happy hour drinks outside from 5pm to 6.30pm.
In line with requirements following the pandemic, the restaurant has spaced out its tables and seating, and there is hand sanitiser on each table. There is also a book where the names and contact details for customers are collected.
Beau Rivage’s maitre d’hotel Titas Sukys and chef Cesar Domingo are at JC’s, but Mr Garzia said it had been difficult to lose other members of his team when the restaurant at Newstead/Belmont Hills Golf Resort and Spa, in Paget, closed its doors.
He said: “That was tough. All my local staff, to tell them that was it, and I had to close the place.
“I had 20-something staff. But it would have been a disaster to open for only a couple of months and then close again because my lease was finishing.”
JC’s Café, the takeout adjacent to the bistro, is also open and has been busy. It has a menu featuring breakfast items, lunch paninis and sandwiches, soup, salads, desserts and cookies.
Mr Garzia said: “People have been supporting us. We get people coming every day, so it is pretty good. It is not like it used to be, but at least it pays the bills.”
He estimates there is only about 40 per cent occupancy of offices in the immediate area around the restaurant, due to people working from home as a result of the pandemic. Mr Garzia is hopeful more office workers will return in the coming weeks.
He said: “We need the people, that’s all. Hopefully by September they will be back.”
A popular feature at Beau Rivage was the “chef’s table”, and that opportunity has now been transferred to JC’s Bistro.
Mr Garzia, who was awarded the Meilleur Ouvrier de France, France’s highest honour for a chef, in 1996, said: “You can book a chef’s table. I can do it like I used to at Beau Rivage. The customers tell me what they like, and I go and do the shopping and then I tell my cook.”
The chef’s table can be booked for parties ranging from a minimum of eight to a maximum of 20.
• JC’s Bistro, at 29 Victoria Street, is open for lunch between 11am and 2.30pm, and for dinner from 6pm to 9pm. It has a Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jcscafeandbistro/
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