Chien Noir changes its name and business model in midst of Stage 2 Reopening

The Chien Noir Bistro, a staple in Kingston’s fine dining community for the past 20 years, is getting a makeover.

On Jun. 12, 2020 the Chien Noir Bistro was officially renamed and re-opened as the Black Dog Tavern.

According to Tim Pater, the owner of the restaurant, he had been wanting to revamp for awhile and was originally going to work it in next fall, but the provincial business closure orders because of COVID-19 gave him the time he needed to work out and experiment with the new menu and a timeline that made sense with the remodel.

“With COVID it seemed that if we were going to do something different, this would probably be the time to do it,” he said. “We’ve had to close anyway and we just thought it would be cool to open something back into the new normal.”

Pater said that the change came simply because he wanted to try something new.

“We’ve been doing this for 20 years,” he said. “We thought it was a time for a change and said to ourselves ‘let’s be a tavern’, we still have great food that’s really well prepared but with a bit more comfortable pricing and just a little bit more eclectic and casual.”

The new menu, which the Chien Noir has been using for take-out during the provincial emergency orders, takes a move away from upscale French dining to more of an accessible, casual feel. Pater assures that some of the old classics are still on the menu but there are also many new dishes to choose from. As for his favourite new item?

“Well the fried chicken is amazing,” he said. “And I really like the shrimp fried rice too.”

Although he has seen the outpouring of messages from the community from his announcement on Facebook, about how sad they are about the changes, he hopes that when they see it open, they will feel better about it.

“Once things start opening up a bit more we hope to be a gathering place,” said Pater. “A fun gathering place where people can enjoy some great food and conversation. The music will be a little more eclectic and it will be a place for people to come anytime, any day without having to get dressed up or anything like that.”

The messages of support he received during the shelter-in-place orders and after his announcement reminded him of the community restaurants provide.

“It just reminded me how important restaurants can be to our community,” he said. “So first dates, engagements and celebrations. It’s really cool to hear and to be a part of all of that.”

He also reiterated how important it is to support all local restaurants.

“It’s so important that people come out and support their local independent restaurants,” said Pater. “They are vital to the community, they are all sorts of things to all sorts of people. We’ve been through a lot because we are one of the hardest hit sectors, so we’re going to need everyone’s help.”

The Black Dog Tavern opened its patio this Friday June 12 and will be open until Sunday. Starting on June 16, the patio will be open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. and reservations can be made daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The restaurant will be doing everything they can to maintain public health guidelines.

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