On the small market of Torreilles, coffee is now taken from the foodtruck. One of the two cafes in the city has transformed its activity into a restaurant. The other reserves the right of entry and devotes itself to its clientele of “connoisseurs”. In reaction to this end of the bistros, the mayor of the town, Marc Médina, launched a public service delegation to create a café in a kiosk on the Place des Souvenirs d’Enfance.
Is it still possible to spend several minutes at a table in a bistro in Torreilles? The question is not so lunar as it seems. The municipality of Torreilles has invested €27,000 in the purchase of a kiosk which will be transformed into a café thanks to a public service delegation and installed on the Place des Souvenirs d’Enfance. “I didn’t want Torreilles to no longer have a bistro, loose Marc Médina, the city councilor. In a town of 4,000 souls, you need a place where workers can have coffee at 7 a.m. and have a drink at 11 a.m. or at the end of the day. Since our two bistros, the Bistroquet and the Régent, have turned into a restaurant, we no longer have this kind of café in the town.“, regrets the mayor.
To have a drink, we have to organize ourselves as if we were in the mountains
More bistros in Torreilles? It is worth the trip. At 11 am, this Friday, May 27 on Place Blasi, the last coffees of the morning are served by the food truck La P’tite Rôtisserie. Installed on the market for eight years, Régis, the boss explains that he has been running the coffee since the health crisis. “With the bars closing, I saw a group of old people, there are about fifteen of them, taking coffee in the street. True! As everything was closed, I brought the machine and offered it for €1 But, even since the resumption of activity, the bars no longer serve coffee. So people continue to come to my house, except for the group of retirees who go to a private casot. This morning, I had to serve 20 or 25 coffees“, he specifies.
Opposite him, Lilian, a Torreillan in his forties, confirms that he drinks his burning black only there. “The Regent no longer serves us. And the Bistroquet has changed a lot. Before, it was very festive in the evening here. At the end of the week, we could hardly get in because it was so full. Now, to have a drink in the evening in the village, you have to hurry to the supermarket before it closes. We have to organize ourselves as if we lived in the mountains“, he testifies.
My clients will always have coffee in the morning, and can always have a drink in the evening
But is it really no longer possible to drink a coffee in Torreilles when the town has four restaurants all year round and up to six during the summer season? At the Regent, which has become One of the Senses, the verdict is final. Here, it is now a restaurant. Period. The boss will say no more. At the Bistroquet, the answer is more nuanced. Franck Pageard, owner of the premises for 20 years module: “Le Bistroquet is a bistro restaurant. I open from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. By taking a break in the afternoon, it’s true, to take a breather and take care of the children“, he develops. But after 20 years in the business, the boss reserves the right of entry. For six years, he has also been doing a pizzeria, relaunching the restaurant business. “I have a clientele of connoisseurs. I take care of my clients. They will always have coffee in the morning and can always have a drink in the evening. On the other hand, I think I can refuse those who have not honored all their bills, those who spend more time in the toilet than at the bar and those who are already too drunk when they arrive.“, assumes the restaurateur. In practice, catering now largely supplants the bar which has become confidential.
But he assures that, during the summer period, he will welcome tourists in search of a lemonade. At last, “if I still have room of course“, he tempers.
The Torreillane controversy proves the importance of the bistro in towns and villages. Creator of social ties, place of meetings and exchanges, more than ever in an ultra-connected world, the bistro is an essential business.