After 40 years of serving traditional French cuisine to some of Montreal’s most influential figures – such as Pierre Trudeau, Brian Mulroney, Mordecai Richler and Nick Auf Der Maur – Jacques Muller will be closing down Le Mas des Oliviers on Oct. 1.
Looking back, Muller said the one thing he’ll miss most are his clients and staff. It was through them that he learned the meaning of friendship.
“If you remember that show ‘Cheers,’ it’s multiplied by 10,” Muller said. “It’s really a populist word, friend. You say you’re my friend but these people are my friends because they’re going to remember me when they’re going to go to another restaurant they’re going to think of me.”
For regulars like Luc Lavoie, the restaurant on Bishop St. is still a place to greet old friends.
“When I come here or I knew I was coming here that I would meet friends they were part of my secondary family,” Lavoie said.
Bartender Élyse Varo has been working at Le Mas des Oliviers for 38 years; years that she said have gone by too quickly.
The friendships made while serving the popular martinis have lasted a lifetime.
“I went to their wedding, I went to their funeral,” Varo said. “I invite the kids on Good Friday every year.”
Muller leaves the restaurant business as French cuisine is going through an existential crisis.
What was once considered the cornerstone of gastronomy in the culinary world has lost a lot of popularity recently.
While Muller feels that time has left him behind, he vows to stay the same.
“I am not going to change my philosophy. I still like good food, shredded pork is not for me,” Muller said. “It’s not sad it’s the evolution of society.”
Le Mas des Oliviers has left its mark on the Montreal restaurant scene because of its warm atmosphere, but Muller remains as humble as ever.
“I am just a waiter, monsieur,” Muller said. “I am here to serve people that’s all and have fun.”