Le Hibou never had a liquor licence, though occasionally I got a banquet licence to serve alcohol on occasions—once for New Year’s Eve. So we had to rely on other means to supplement income, since we were now open all day, I decided to offer lunch at noon for the civil servants and business people who worked nearby. At first we offered mainly sandwiches and salad. Our rye bread came daily from Rideau Bakery. Tatra Bakery at 25 St Etienne, in Hull, provided delicious buns for our ham and cheese or tomato and cheese sandwiches. We could not get our cakes from Augustine on Bank Street anymore since he didn’t deliver. Fortunately, the new young owners, Armin and Rheinholt, of Bronson Bakery, a German bakery, were only to happy to do delivery. Another advantage of being in the market area was that I was able to shop daily at Continental Deli and Saslove Meats, and choose my fresh produce from the stalls for the vegetables. On nearby George Street there was a Loeb warehouse for stores and restaurants, a good place for dry goods and canned products.
Later, I thought of running the place like a French bistro offering a choice of two hot dishes, which would vary from day to day. This proved quite popular, and we attracted a good clientele. The menu was quite varied, including beef strogonoff, chicken cacciatore, coq au vin, veal scallopine etc. It was a hectic time for me as some of time I had to do the cooking, but I loved the rush of the action and the occasional kudos from the customers. Eventually I was able to hire a full-time chef and Georges Tremblay, the actor, part of the Le Hibou theatre group did a wonderful job. More on him later.
There was also a CIBC bank at the corner of Rideau and Sussex and as it was the closest, it became our bank. I arranged with the bank the possibility of night drop off . I was given a pouch and deposit slips. I advised the staff to vary the hours of drop off since it was always late in the evening, and I didn’t want an incident. But quite often I would do it. I had a little routine: I would drive up with the VW van, check everywhere, jump out, key in hand, open the door, slam the pouch in and take off. If I walked, I always did it with another person. Luckily, we never had an incident but that was those days. I don’t know if it would be as easy and as safe today.