The Founder Looks Back on His Early Years at the Burger Pub

July 20, 2023

Gilles Rouleau opened the Burger Pub 15 years ago. The former owner, now retired, has fond memories of getting started in the business, serving burgers and beers and the friendships that resulted from those early years.

A little interview to go back in time…

What gave you the idea to open the Burger Pub?

At the time, I was working in Orford. A friend of mine had constructed an inn, which is now Espace 4 Saisons and he said to me “Gilles, you’ve always worked in bars. Do you want to join me here? “

His suggestion was a no-brainer, and we opened the Burger Pub very quickly! We didn’t have a lot of money to decorate the building, so we used second-hand sports equipment. Our first “ornament” was a pair of skis, because we wanted to create a bar for the après-ski crowd, but then we received more and more “stuff” from people who were clearing out their garages!

So, you were intending to attract skiers?

Yes. In fact, at first, we didn’t even want to open during the summer. With time though, we realized that we were also attracting a local clientele and that the ambience was good, so we decided to be open all year round.

What was on the menu at that time?

It was just burgers! At first, we sold five or six a day, then we quickly went up to 50, even 60! We didn’t have a computer and I did a bit of everything. I put in the orders at the kitchen. I was in charge of table service and receiving diners. I filled out paperwork, prepared cocktails, did small repair jobs…

Why do you think the place became so popular?

The ambience. We didn’t have an extensive menu and the food items were very simple (they still are!), but people loved coming to the Pub to relax. Our customers would have a beer with finger food after a day of skiing at Mount Orford; then they would order nachos or a hearty burger for dinner. It was really fun!

Do you have any good stories to tell us?

Even though there was supposed to be room for only forty people inside, sometimes it got up to more than one hundred! At times, it would be so crowded that people would stand behind the bar, mingling with the employees. I didn’t have time to write anything down, so our clients would come up to me before leaving and let me know what they’d ordered, so they could pay their bill. It was chaos, but there was a great atmosphere! 

After you sold the Burger Pub three years ago, you retired. How are you filling your days?

I’m certainly not bored! I play a lot of golf. Travel. Spend time with our grandchildren. Of course, we still drop by the restaurant from time to time.

And looking towards the future…

PAL+ | Expériences touristiques, which encompasses 7 enterprises in the Eastern Townships, acquired the Burger Pub in November 2020, adding it to their portfolio that includes neighbouring and renowned Bistro 4 Saisons and Espace 4 Saisons.

Élyse, why did you buy the Burger Pub?

The Pub has always been my favorite après-ski spot. But in fact, I often went there in any season for a cold beer and a good burger, after a climb of Mount Orford for example. The location directly at the base of the mountain, on the side of Mount Giroux, is simply exceptional! Our large terrace, which is practically open all year round as soon as the weather permits, offers a truly magnificent and unique view.

I have also always appreciated the warm and very special atmosphere there… I certainly also remember the parties that Gilles mentions (laughs)! In short, it was really a dream for me to be able to add it to the seven PAL+ experiences, and we intend to continue its mission (and its success!) for many more years.

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