MONCTON – Tony’s Bistro & Patisserie is about to expand for the second time since 2013. The popular brunch spot will have double the number of seats, an expanded kitchen, a new bar area and more employees at its 137 McLaughlin Road location.
“We’ve been in this location for 10 years,” said owner Tony Holden. “And expansion means excitement for everybody. It means excitement in the fact that everybody can get to work at different stations because we’re going to have the bread station now.”
“And for the dining room area, it’s going to be very exciting for [my wife] June for her servers. They’ll just have more room to seat customers. Because sometimes they gotta wait an hour, hour and 15 minutes. They do it, but we’d like to be able to sit more people just to make customers happier,” he said.
By the first week of April, Tony’s will have between 80-90 seats, up from the current 30-40 seats. It will take over The Co-operators Insurance office next door when the firm moves. This will expand the restaurant from around 4,000 square feet now to nearly 6,000 square feet. This will also allow more patio space for Tony’s. Holden plans to grow his staff from 30 people to 42.
Also, we’re going to be putting a bar in. A wine and liquor bar. So, that way we can make some special cocktail drinks there, and if people want to wait at the bar while they wait for the table, they can come up and have a drink while they’re waiting if they want. We’re pretty excited.”
With everything served at the restaurant made from scratch, Holden said the kitchen has become tight. The expansion will allow more room for the chefs. He also plans to add an artisan deck oven in the kitchen so the bakers can make healthy breads and “crusty loaves with soft interior.”
The new oven means Holden will be able to expand the bread offering at its booth in the Moncton Farmers’ Market. Holden started selling his pastry there in 2001 when he was still working as a pastry chef at the Delta Beausejour Hotel and making wedding cakes in his basement on the side.
“We enjoy [being in the market]. It gives us exposure as well. When we bring the oven in, we’re gonna add the bread options. Baguette, sourdough, rye bread, stuff like that.”
The St. John’s, N.L., native has been making pastry for 36 years. He fell in love with it in 1982 when he met a pastry chef from Quebec City and worked with him at a resort hotel in Digby, N.S.
“I used to try the desserts and said, ‘wow I really liked that.’ So when I was finished cooking, I’d ask the executive chef if I can work in pastry. So I’d go over there and I got into it and really, really enjoyed it. And when he left, I took over as the pastry chef, and stayed in pastry ever since.”
Now at his own restaurant, he said a similar passion has made Tony’s products popular.
“I have people that have been with me now over 10 years. It’s the passion that we put into it and the ingredients that we use. We use real Madagascar vanilla beans. We use an 84 per cent butter, which is lower in water and the content of the fat in our butter is just better for pastry and cooking,” he said.
“I always say to the cooks, it doesn’t matter where you’re from. If you have a passion for it, you’re gonna learn.”
Having been in the Moncton food industry for 16 years, Holden said he’s seen a lot of changes.
“More people are open to trying different foods and I really find too that if you give a quality product, people will seek that out and they don’t mind paying a little bit more for it.”
Work to renovate the restaurant will begin in about two-to-three weeks. It will take around one month to complete and the restaurant will be closed for five-to-seven days.