New Plateau business creates a hybrid of the classic dépanneur and café
It’s common knowledge that dépanneurs are meant to be convenient. However, François Ste-Marie, a young Montreal entrepreneur, thinks they should be so much more.
On Sept. 9, Ste-Marie opened the dépanneur he’s been longing to see in the city. The result, frankly, is impressive.
Located in Plateau Mont-Royal, just a few blocks away from Montreal’s iconic Schwartz’s Deli, Dépanneur Fancé is a one-of-a-kind spot.
At first glance, the quaint shop stands out on the residential street close to St-Laurent Boulevard. The street doesn’t have much hustle and bustle. However, once inside Fancé, the street’s quietness becomes a forgettable detail as you are immediately faced with a colourful array of carefully chosen products. Vegetable chips, locally-produced soda drinks, kombucha and craft beers share the shelves with high-quality household basics, such as organic juices and cereals. The shop also sells meals and desserts made in store, available for take-out. Most importantly, behind the counter is Ste-Marie, the owner and sole employee of Fancé, ready to serve you like he would a friend.
Although Fancé offers typical “convenience” products, it is also appealing as a place to satisfy your gourmet appetite. Fancé’s tasteful creamy and nutty lattes are delicious, especially coupled with their croissants, or homemade cookies. The spot also has a breakfast and lunch menu. The breakfast menu includes classics with a twist. You can choose toast on artisanal bread with your choice of spread, or an iranian breakfast which consists of toast with feta cheese and nuts. The lunch menu includes items such as feta and watermelon salad, homemade sandwiches made with fresh, local ingredients, and salads.
Ste-Marie is an ardent supporter of local ingredients and products. Most of his products are Canadian. The coffee he sells comes from Montreal’s trendy Café Saint-Henri and Calgary’s Café Phil & Sebastian, and he buys his chips and cereals from two British Columbia-based companies.
Prior to opening his own business, Ste-Marie worked as a manager at a clothing retailer in downtown Montreal. “My dad had a dépanneur when I was young,” he said. “I’ve always fancied the idea of having mine, but with the products I’d like to find. I love good food, good beer and good coffee. I wanted to appropriate the concept.”
Ste-Marie filled his shop with just that—you can tell right away by his small inventory that he only sells his carefully chosen, and high-quality favourites.
Fancé, Ste-Marie’s Québécois spelling of “Fancy,” is sure to become the new Plateau hotspot to grab some beer and snacks for a night in, or your go-to café to enjoy a velvety latte to help you get through a study session.
The spot’s seating consists of a stylish and sleek bar with five chairs along the large window of the shop. The bar, made of concrete, features only a few computer outlets. Wifi is also available.
For now, Dépanneur Fancé is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m, however, Ste-Marie said the opening hours are subject to change as Fancé gets a feel for the neighbourhood.
Dépanneur Fancé is located at 3764 St-Dominique Street.
Published by The Concordian on October 4, 2016.