They may be naughty boys, but they’re very good restaurant owners!
Romain Riva and Cyril Lauer were great friends before joining forces to found Les Vilains Garçons in 2014. Before becoming the chef at his own restaurant, Romain learned his craft at Oncle Tom and the Wakefield Mill, while Cyril honed his skills at several restaurants in the region.
Les Vilains Garçons: The early days
It was during those years, while they were working in the hospitality industry and getting together occasionally for a few beers, that the two came up with the idea of opening their own restaurant someday. It made sense to aim for the Old Hull neighbourhood in downtown Gatineau.
“Les Vilains Garçons is the dream of a couple of guys who worked hard to gain experience and earn enough money to open their first restaurant.” —Cyril Lauer
Les Vilains Garçons quickly earned an outstanding reputation not only in the region, but throughout Quebec: it was named one of the province’s top restaurants by the Journal de Montréal in 2017 and by Radio-Canada in 2016. People started travelling considerable distances to discover the Vilains Garçons experience.
On the menu: No menu!
The dishes created by chef Romain Riva reflect a variety of culinary influences, and often contain unusual ingredients. While at first the restaurant’s customers were a little surprised by Les Vilains’ creative cuisine, nowadays many of them suggest new products to add to the kitchen.
Another distinctive feature of 131 Promenade du Portage is that there’s no menu!
“We can guarantee that it will be good, that it will be beautiful, and that it will be affordable. But as for what will be on the menu, that we don’t know.” —Romain Riva
Through this initiative, the duo wants to stay in the region and continue to show the people of the Outaouais that there are exciting culinary discoveries to be made right here in Gatineau.
“We chose this region because we grew up here and we’re very attached to it. We got up to all kinds of mischief here, and we always promised ourselves that together, we’d open a restaurant here. We’re very proud of our local producers, and the Outaouais has so much to love, so much to discover.” —Cyril Lauer
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