Quebec, gourmet city: 40 years of meat buns and fries for Pat Rétro

The Pat Rétro snack has been around for 40 years, but it looks like it hasn’t aged a bit. They still serve homemade fries cooked to order and the famous meat buns that won over Céline Dion and René Angélil.

The vintage decor from the 50s and 60s also has a lot to do with it. As soon as you set foot in the restaurant, you go back in time thanks to the red leather banquettes and the posters of yesteryear on the walls. Le Pat Rétro has several unique period objects, including an authentic jukebox which sits in the middle of the dining room.

The owner, Priscilla Morin, and in the background, the famous jukebox.

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

“People come here to find memories and that’s what I find most interesting. It’s very touching,” the owner, Priscilla Morin, tells me, while I feast on a good meatloaf that has made the place famous.

The meat buns have made Pat Rétro’s reputation.

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

René Angélil succumbed long before me to the charms of meat bread. He tasted it for the first time in 1984, and subsequently, the impresario and the diva made it a point of honor to return or order it each time they visited Quebec.

“It often happened that people said: “I’m going to take the same thing as René Angélil”. They had great loyalty and that gave a boost,” notes Ms. Morin.

The recipe, created by the first owner, Simon Wilson, has remained intact, she assures. And it’s true that the meatloaf tastes exactly like I remember.

“I found it important, because people come with an idea in mind and they want to find that taste again. We have a good regular clientele and we must not distort the recipes,” recalls the woman who has owned the establishment since 2013.

Quality at the rendezvous

How do we last so long in catering? By the quality of the food, among other things.

“We have had the same potato supplier for 40 years,” emphasizes the owner.

Here, fresh potatoes are cooked to order. They are dipped in oil three times, a process that takes at least 8 minutes and requires patience on the part of the customer.

“We don’t whitewash anything in advance. The potato is raw when we start cooking,” she says.

The wait is rewarded with good, golden fries.

Quebec, gourmet city: 40 years of meat buns and fries for Pat Rétro

Fresh fries are cooked to order.

Photo Stevens LeBlanc

The menu is full of other classic snack bars of yesteryear, such as hamburger steak topped with brown sauce, hot hamburger, hot chicken or lake hot dog.

“We stick with our winning recipes,” says Mme Morin, who chose to keep the snack after putting it on sale in 2022.

“I still have the passion, I love it,” says this seller of happiness, who is also the owner of intermediate mental health residences.

She often comes to support her team at lunchtime and greet the regulars.

Since December, the establishment has been able to count on two employees from abroad – from Chile and Senegal. This made it possible to maintain more opening hours.

Although they were surprised upon their arrival by our national dish, poutine, the two newcomers quickly adopted it, to the point that a poutine with Chilean sauce was developed for Poutine Week. Another one of Senegalese inspiration could also make an appearance!

Pat Retro

  • I like: the retro look that takes us back in time.
  • I love less: the service which can sometimes be slow.
  • Good to know: ready-to-eat products are gradually starting to be sold in freezers. The restaurant focuses on old-fashioned dishes like pea soup and dumpling stew.
  • Address: 1983, rue de Bergerville.
  • Business hours: Monday and Tuesday lunchtime only. From Wednesday to Sunday, lunchtime and evening.


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