Bistro Breizh is CLOSED. Temporarily.

Right. Hi fans. Won’t be cross-posting to anywhere other than my Facebook page. Just a message to my fans.

Although the latest generator loading mishap was annoying, it wasn’t the only thing going wrong with my current setup. I didn’t rage-quit over not being able to load a generator. It was a decision that was made over a few months, and this just triggered it.

Over the last few months I’ve come to the conclusion that the truck and trailer setup I currently have is not suited to where I wanted to take the business. I was going to keep operating until I got some money in from the sale of my house in Nanaimo, then attempt a smooth transition. But over the last month a number of issues have cropped up that require that I either invest much more money in the current setup, which I know will not work in the long run no matter what I do, or stop until I have a better set of tools. I’ve elected to do the latter.

There was some discussion at home about whether I would even continue doing this, or take the money and just create a low-key retirement. But I’ve decided that I love doing it enough to build a better food truck and get back on the road.  Requirements and designs have started being drawn up, and I hope it won’t take too long once I get the money to do it. It’ll be a purely European style cross between a market stall and a food truck, and I’ll post drawings and pictures over time just to whet people’s appetites.

So Bistro Breizh isn’t dead. It’s just resting. I can’t promise for how long it’ll be resting, but I will be back, and Port Alberni (and the region) will have Breton galettes and crêpes again.

Marc Donovan
your local crêpier.

No generator. No hospital. No crepes. CLOSED

tl;dr: Bistro Breizh is closing. Indefinitely.

05:15 on Friday morning.  I’ve had enough of this ongoing failure. This time it’s the winch I use to get the generator into the back of the truck. Of course, as is usual with these things, it fails when I really need it, even though it was working just a few days ago when I tested it. I’ve been trying for over an hour to get the generator into the back of the truck by myself, and I just can’t do it. I’m just too weak. Since the hospital has no power for me, I can’t open today.

Or ever, at least not with my current setup.

I’m closing for the foreseeable future. I’ve had enough of trying to make this work reliably for a one-person show. I’ve disappointed too many people, including myself, too often. The trailer as it stands now would work beautifully for 2 or more people, serving a higher volume of food. But not for me, not on my own, not for a low-volume operation.

I’m going to re-evaluate the whole setup. First thing I’m going to do is I’ll be selling the truck and trailer immediately. Hopefully someone can use it as it was meant to be used. Then seeing if I can continue making crêpes as a one-person show in some fashion.  I really love what I’m doing, I just can’t keep doing it with the equipment I’ve got. Maybe a tiny food truck with everything, including the generator, built-in? Or maybe just find something else to do and make crêpes for kicks at events? Or something. I don’t know yet. This decision has been a long time in the making, but this latest failure was truly the last straw that broke the camel’s back (figuratively… mostly).

I really wanted to get to the hospital at least one more time. However, the only way I’m getting to the hospital today is if I go up there because I seem to have damaged my back trying to brute-force the generator into the truck.

My apologies to everyone.

Hospital on Friday

So Bistro Breizh is open this week as follows: (with locations this time!)

  • Tuesday 17 Oct (today): 09:30 to 14:00 at Burde Beans. It was sunny.
  • Wednesday 18 Oct: 09:30 to 14:00 at Burde Beans
  • Thursday 19 Oct: closed
  • Friday 20 Oct: 10:00 to 14:30 at West Coast General Hospital. !!.
  • Saturday and Sunday, 21/22 Oct: closed. Probably. Maybe? Any requests?


Weather warnings?

I obviously wasn’t paying attention when I said I’d be open today. It’s going to be an interesting day, opening during a storm that’s earned a weather warning. I guess it’ll be a good test of how water proof the trailer is when the side is open… and how weather proof the crêpier is.

Yes, still opening. I said I would. We’ll be at Burde Beans today at least, and probably tomorrow unless something goes wrong. I’m going to try to open at the hospital on Friday.

Please note that Burde Beans has an indoor area where you can eat the crêpes or galettes. Heck, I’ll even deliver the items to you inside after you order. So you won’t need to brave the weather all that much to get your crêpes or galette.

Opening Tuesday

So won’t be open Monday after all as I need some more parts. However, the core of the work is done and I can get the parts locally (just not on a Sunday) so we will be opening Tuesday and Wednesday, closed Thursday, then open again Friday.

  • Monday 16 Oct: closed
  • Tuesday 17 Oct: 09:30 to 14:00
  • Wednesday 18 Oct: 09:30 to 14:00
  • Thursday 19 Oct: closed
  • Friday 20 Oct: 09:30 to 14:00
  • Saturday 21 Oct: closed
  • Sunday 22 Oct: closed.

At least one of those days I hope to open at the hospital, but since it can’t be on my usual day (Thursday) I need to discuss that with the administration there. The rest of the time I’ll be opening at Burde Beans. Check back here for details as I get them.

Probably closed until Monday

Found an alternative solution that lets me keep my current pump (hey, it works just fine!) but still toss out the 12v electrical system. But I’ve had to order the parts online since I was unable to find what I needed locally. It’s going to take a little while to receive it, install it, test it, and so on.

So I’m going to go out on a limb and say “I’ll open Monday, 16 October”. With the caveat “check here for updates if/when that plan doesn’t survive meeting reality”.

Solution designed, part search begins

So a solution has been found to the problem of 12v systems failing. Now I just need to find the one part I’m missing that’s required to implement the solution. I’ll be calling around locally tomorrow to see if someone has what I need, in which case I should be able to open really quickly. Otherwise it’ll have to be mail-order, and I’ll be at the mercy of whatever delivery they’ve got.

Still closed until further notice though.

For those interested in the details, or just curious:

The technical solution, which none of the professionals I’ve consulted have proposed in the 3 years I’ve owned this unit, is to get rid of the 12v system. As far as I can tell I don’t need it. I’ve always had a cooler that requires 110v AC, and needs to be always on. This means that the trailer always has a source of 110v AC, be it through an extension cord, generator, or inverter from the tow vehicle. So I’ll just be getting myself a reliable 110v AC on-demand pump and rip out the 12v system. One less thing to worry about, and I get back the space currently used by the battery pack. I don’t know where the assumption was that I needed a 12v power system in the trailer. It came that way when I bought it, and I didn’t realize that the small pump I used for water had a AC version, not just a 12v DC version. Now I know. There’s a lot of learning in this business…

Updated schedule 04 to 08 October

Right, so we have some new information that means we’re going to need to make some modifications to the schedule this week.  For starters, the MRI truck isn’t leaving the hospital until the 14th, so we can’t be there at the moment, although we’re looking at alternative parking locations.

So… schedule.

  • 04 Oct (Wed) 09:30 to 14:00 at Burde Beans
  • 05 Oct (Thur) CLOSED
  • 06 Oct (Fri) 09:30 to 14:00 at Burde Beans
  • 07 Oct (Sat) 10:00 to 14:30 at Burde Beans
  • 08 Oct (Sun) CLOSED

In general October will see us closed more often for a variety of personal reasons I won’t go into here. If all goes well, and with a little luck, we should be back in full operation by the end of October or early November, at which point we’ll be working on an expanded menu including pastries and perhaps some other typical Breton dishes that aren’t crêpes or galettes. Dishes such as potée bretonne, a hearty stew that should go down quite well in winter. We’re also planning to be opened 5 days per week, including some evenings and at least one of Saturday or Sunday, and perhaps at a greater variety of locations. Those are the plans anyway. We’ll see if the plans survive contact with what passes for reality these days.

Abbreviated schedule for 1-7 Oct

October! Yes, it’s almost here. However, we’re going to be closed for the first few days of it.

  • Sat 30 Sept to Tuesday 03 Oct: closed! Fixing things.
  • Wed 04 Oct: 09:30 to 14:00 at Burde Beans
  • Thur 05 Oct: 09:30 to 14:30 at West Coast General Hospital. (MAYBE!) depends if they move the MRI truck or not.
  • Fri 06 Oct: 09:30 to 14:00 at Burde Beans.
  • Saturday 07 Oct: 10:00 to 14:00 just to see if people want crêpes on weekends…

This is a tentative schedule subject to change as we get a better grip on what’s up next week.