However, the rest of the distillery mega-project in the Saint-Malo industrial park, which will later include a production factory, a shop and a roof terrace, is not yet complete. Renovations are still underway and customers only have access to the dining room.
“Our first bottles should come out of production at the end of 2023 and the entire building should be open in spring 2024,” immediately mentions Marc-Antoine Beauchesne, co-owner of Top Resto Group, the company behind the project.
The opening was announced for June, but “the project has become more and more extensive,” said the co-owner.
“We preferred to take the time to execute our vision rather than rush the opening with a less complete outcome.”
— Marc-Antoine Beauchesne, co-owner of Top Resto Group
“Projects like this always go slower than we would like,” he adds.
Curious people and lovers of local spirits will have to wait a little longer before they can appreciate Arsenal & Co.’s products. However, the distillery has set the bar very high with the interior of its restaurant, which was designed by the Patriarch architectural firm.
Unique and spectacular
The exterior appearance of the building is industrial and classic with its red bricks and new windows. But when you enter, the contrast is complete: the furnishings are grandiose, spectacular and warm at the same time.
Above the central bar, two huge lighting fixtures attract everyone’s attention and fill the huge space left by the ceilings, which are just over 11 meters high.
The 250 seats are distributed across armchairs and benches in various styles, colors and textures. Huge gold curtains, wood, copper and iron tones complete this completely scattered decor.
The highlight of the show: a mezzanine on several levels where tables and benches are set up. This means that customers can clearly see the performances on the stage set up at the entrance even if they are sitting in the back of the room.
“We were inspired by the restaurants me and Carl visited [Desruisseaux, copropriétaire du Groupe Top Resto]“During our trips to New York and Las Vegas,” says Mr. Beauchesne.
Catherine Bernard, associate architect at Patriarche, adds that it is also important that the place is “unique and heterogeneous,” with “an arrangement of enough styles and references for everyone to perceive familiar elements in a warm atmosphere.” »
“The space is both grandiose and unpretentious. It reminds us of the industrial era, but we also sense references from other eras,” explains Ms. Bernard.
“During design, I often said that the inspiration for the project was Lenny Kravitz: rocky, timeless, celebratory, rhythmic, assertive, rebellious,” she adds.
Variety on the menu
According to Julien Ouellet, head chef at Top Resto Group, the menu at Arsenal & Co restaurant is accessible to all tastes and is not limited to a single style.
“We have smoked meats, ribs, pulled pork, anything with a South American accent, but we’re not limited to that,” he explains over the phone.
In addition to the grill, the kitchen features a hybrid combustion Italian pizza oven that can bake up to 12 pizzas at a time.
“The pizzas are primarily New York and American-style pizzas, and there are other sections of the menu that are more bistro-style. We even have Korean accents in certain dishes,” mentions Mr. Ouellet.
Since the restaurant is still in its infancy, the menu for fall 2023 is “tentative.” Some innovations, such as the “Immersion” area, which consists of more popular dishes, are therefore missing.
The roof terrace with a capacity of 200 seats will also be available in spring 2024. Lazy people, don’t worry, an elevator has been installed to take you there.
Invested $10 million
Located on Rue Taillon, the building that houses the Arsenal & Co distillery has the same name because it housed an artillery factory during the Second World War.
However, the site used by Arsenal, with a total area of 25,000 square meters, is not yet completed. During the transit of the sun, several construction teams were busy with different tasks in both the future warehouse and the production factory.
According to Marc-Antoine Beauchesne, the distillery will pursue a two-stage strategy. Initially, the plan is to market some types of alcohol on a large scale, which will be available at SAQ and even “internationally”.
“We will focus mainly on brown alcohols, especially rum,” notes the co-owner.
Next, Arsenal plans to produce several varieties of different strong alcohols on a smaller scale. These varieties are only offered in the store, which notably offers tastings, tours of the factory and mixology workshops.
Products from the distillery will also be used in the food and drink menu.
“We didn’t want to just be the 152nd distillery in Quebec. That’s why we found a way to differentiate ourselves and attract the world by offering an immersive experience.”
— Marc-Antoine Beauchesne, co-owner of Top Resto Group
He claims that the project required investments of almost $10 million and that the distillery will employ around a hundred people when fully operational.
This is Top Resto Group’s largest project to date, a challenge that makes Mr. Beauchesne both proud and nervous.
“I’m definitely excited. We are proud and can’t wait to show all aspects of the project, so it’s painful for us to open the restaurant. We’re really looking forward to the next step,” he says.
Top Resto Group has seven other establishments, all located in Quebec: Birra & Basta, London Jack, Maison Livernois, Pub du Parvis, Pub Saint-Patrick, Rafaella and Santa Cruz.
The Arsenal & Co Distillery restaurant offers dinner every evening and Wednesday to Friday. On weekends, dinners are replaced by “festive lunches”.