The Second World War had concluded a year earlier, future Montreal Canadiens star Serge Savard was born and the Canadian Citizenship Act of 1946 passed and created a citizenship separate from the British.
That same year in Neguac, a village 30 minutes northeast of Miramichi, Raymond and Alvina Breau opened a new restaurant called Chez Raymond.
More than 70 years later, those doors remain open and serve as one of the main stops for locals to grab something to eat or a morning coffee on the way to work.
For travellers, it’s a main stop en route to the Acadian Peninsula, or a stop for those travelling from the peninsula to the Miramichi area or to other parts of the province.
“Our location is great,” manager Sonia Kenny, said in French. “It helps not only us but the local businesses around as well. People will stop in for a lunch and then maybe stop at another business in the community before gong on their way.”
The restaurant changed hands on a few other occasions and a motel, which is still in operation, was added in the 1970s. In 1999, Kenny’s father, Jean-Guy Kenny purchased the restaurant and remains the owner. Sonia Kenny became an assistant manager in 1999 and then became manager in 2011.
Although times have changed, much of the menu, has remained the same.
“The recipes were pretty much all created by Alvina Breau and even as the years went on, pretty much all the recipes were kept the same,” with the exception of a few modifications,” Kenny said. “It was always successful and we thought, why change something that works? Everything is homemade from the Chinese food to the deserts.”
After so many years, Kenny said a big reason people are drawn to the restaurant is because of the homestyle cooking.
“They like how everything is homemade and we’re an independent restaurant,” he said. “We have a big menu with a lot of variety like Canadian dishes, seafood, Italian, so I think that variety brings in more people to come and see us.”
Kenny said when people come into the restaurant, they know what kind of service they are going to get and the food is going to be good.
The restaurant employs 37 staff of which 32 or so are full time, while the rest are part time.
The staff can jump up to more than 40 in the summer once they hire summer students.
“We’ll sometimes have people come in and say they worked here when they were young,” Kenny said. “Over 70 years, this restaurant had a big impact on the lives of many people here whether they worked here or not.”
Without the support of the community and its customers, Kenny said their survival during the course of seven decade wouldn’t have been possible.
“I have staff here who’ve worked here for more than 20 years, so for a client, it’s fun to be served by a familiar face and it’s especially nice when they know your name,” Kenny said.
Credit: Jeremy Trevors, Miramichi Leader