If for several the project of the summer was to grow a vegetable garden or spend a holiday in the Gaspé, Juliette Ouimet, and Olivia Raymond have preferred to take the road until the end of the 138 on the North Shore to Natashquan, to open the doors of the haul-out site, the only café-bistro in the small village of the Côte-Nord. Year after year, the co-op that owns the property just to fill the administration for lack of manpower.
Felix Pedneault : You seem to have fallen in love with Natashquan ? What is it that has you captivated from the start?
Juliette Ouimet :
The water is surprisingly warm to Natashquan. As there are two rivers that flow into a bay, the river is always tempered. There is also a microbrewery, The fly, which brews and distributes to Natashquan, so it was a good beer from the micro even if it is far.
Olivia Raymond :
The people are amazing, they are warm, the meals is easy, nothing is stressful. And the landscape is breathtaking !
Each year, young people from outside come for a cup of coffee in hand, and its hosted on-site.
Felix Pedneault : With the pandemic, did you fear of not being able to realize your project?
Juliette Ouimet : With the COVID, it has been difficult to open ! After you have worked all year on it, to get a menu, budgets, timelines, we were a little lost hope. When we learned that The haul-out was going to reopen, we had to do in a little less than two week all we had to do it in three months. And lo and behold, we opened the 1st of July !
Felix Pedneault : What is the biggest challenge when managing a coffee as the one of the haul-out?
Olivia Raymond : orders ! Get our food and our drinks in time, it has been very difficult. It is on the North Coast, not Montreal ! It is more difficult to have food at the base when you arrive at the last minute. It was worse especially with the pandemic. Like everything in the middle of the restoration has re-opened at the same time, for large orders any is found to be “back order”.
Juliette Ouimet : to Find the workforce with two weeks notice to come to work, it has been a challenge also.
Q. Nathashquan is up to 15h of Montreal. Did you get bored of the city ?
Juliette Ouimet : For real, it’s not so bad ! The notion of distance changes when you’re on the North Shore. Natashquan is at 15h of Montreal, so it’s done in two days if you clanches. But let’s say that for our orders, there’s not much that goes up here, so you almost have to negotiate for the trucks to deliver. Or it comes by boat, but if it’s windy too, or if there are whales, the boats pass any law and do not stop ! The other day, we had to close the kitchen because we had nothing more and that our order arrived just three days later.
Olivia Raymond : Otherwise we ask friends to pass by Sept-îles or Havre-St-Pierre to bring us things.
Felix Pedneault : what is a typical day in the haul-out ?
Olivia Raymond : in The morning, one between the kitchen and makes the fresh pastries of the day at 9am. It is a result of the preparation for the whole day and those that will follow, but often the orders come quickly and you are left to do the service. Later, it was other people who come to help at the bar until 22h. After that we go take a beer on the beach with the chumeys, then made a fire !
The coffee shop serves 100 to 150 customers per day.
Felix Pedneault : The tourism in the region is very strong this year, does that strike you ?
Juliette Ouimet : It is really more than what we imagined. We can serve an average of 100 to 150 people per day and time, it is 200 easy. We never would have thought that there would be as many people. We had even hired people with no promise of actually working. Finally, everyone is working and we made almost double what we had budgeted.
Felix Pedneault How would you describe your clientele to Natashquan ?
Juliette Ouimet : All the world is ending. They are very patient, they understand the issues of supply, they respect our opening hours. They are very happy to have a place to gather, since it is closed in the winter. They are grateful and they make us feel. The people are very friendly everybody will greet them in the street.
Felix Pedneault : Would you say that the pandemic was a good thing for the coffee the haul-out ?
Juliette Ouimet : We lie not : I think yes ! The pandemic was a bad thing for many people, let’s be clear. But the fact that people are travelling in Quebec, it has helped us.
Olivia Raymond : I’ve already heard of a milf on the beach who said : “I will be back more in the United States have known that this is Quebec and that it is far less “. My friends say it starts to be much more crowded in the Gaspé peninsula as before. I think Natashquan also will attract more eventually. This summer people have wanted to go further in Quebec and they have wanted to go see the end of the 138.
Juliette Ouimet : And they have not been disappointed !