cafe-aux-marron

This past weekend Sprudge.com editors Zachary Carlsen and Jordan Michelman traveled to Montreal, Quebec as speakers at the first Barista Nation event of 2014. They also used their time to explore the many cultural and gustatory delights of Montreal. From smoked meats to expertly prepared steaks, elegantly composed small plates to bountifully generous pate platters, your intrepid founding editors snacked, nibbled, and politely chowed their way through several excellent meals in Montreal’s world-renowned food scene.

They also discovered a cafe policy so shocking, so out of the ordinary that it demands sharing with the wider world. Because there in Montreal, Michelman and Carlsen stumbled upon a cafe with a very strict ordinance. A cafe that won’t let its patrons poop.

sign-blurry

“Numero Un Seulement”, reads the sign on the door at Cafe Aux Marron, a small, intimate shop serving a variety of Canadian and American roasters, located on a snowy sidestreet just a few rues from the McGill University campus in downtown Montreal. Roughly translated, the sign means “Number #1 Only”, a slang colloquialism that Marron likely picked up from its American transplant clientele. The bathroom itself is a one door petite unisex affair, located directly adjacent to the cafe’s small seating area and coffee bar.

The reasoning behind the policy? “Logique“, says Marque Montpellier, the propriétaire at Marron, who would not allow himself to be photographed for this article. He went on to explain in French:

“Nous sommes en dégustation de cafe a tous les jours dans ce café. Les odeurs de la clientele est un grave problème. Aucun parfum, aucune cologne, et aucun mouvement des entrailles sont autorisés dans ce café. Il s’agit d’une politique stricte. Si nous sommes à déguster du café professionnellement, il faut restreindre toute odeurs désagréable dans ce café. Merci de respecter cette politique.”

And what about his staff? Banning a normal, healthy bodily function must be an unpleasant policy for baristas working 8 hour shifts. “Notre personnel ne défèquent pas” Montpellier told Sprudge, which translated roughly means “our staff does not poop.” Personnel retention is a challenge, concedes Montpellier, but it’s worth it in the name of pursuing his vision for Cafe Aux Marron. “Nous souffrons du café,” Montpellier said, evoking the wider sense of suffering for quality familiar to all service professionals.

Montpellier, who was unwilling to give a statement to Sprudge in English, closed our interview by declaring “Sans numero deux, notre politique nous libere completement.” In the name of fair reporting, we later heard him flirting in perfect English with a young American McGill student.