- Courtesy of Jean-Luc Matecat
- Lobster rolls
Jean-Luc Matecat started washing dishes at the Common Man restaurant in Warren when he was 11 and has worked in restaurant kitchens ever since. Next month, he will open his first restaurant.
The 39-year-old chef and his wife, Lindsay Matecat, plan to launch Pioneer Lakeshore Café at 824 West Lakeshore Drive in Colchester in mid-April.
"It's been a dream of mine for so long, the reality of it hasn't even set in that it's true," Jean-Luc told Seven Days. "It's very exciting ... We just want to be a part of the community."
The eatery's name is a nod to the Colchester couple's food truck, Pioneer Food Truck & Catering, which they will still operate on occasion. The café will offer a variety of breakfast sandwiches with which Jean-Luc has a "personal obsession," he said. Among a lunch menu of sandwiches, soups and salads are some favorite items from the truck: notably, the crispy chicken sandwich, French fries and lobster rolls.
"We really just want to offer a nice variety of things that can get people coming on a regular basis," Jean-Luc said. The priorities are "keeping our prices affordable, keeping the place welcoming and keeping the menu exciting."
Jean-Luc has worked in restaurants in Nantucket, Boston and France. He spent the past year as executive chef at Vermont National Country Club in South Burlington; before that, he was chef de cuisine at Burlington's ArtsRiot and opening chef at Winooski's Mule Bar.
Lindsay, 29, worked most recently at Pizzeria Verità in Burlington; she will run the front of the house at the 35-seat café.
The couple is currently painting and doing light construction work on the space, which Jean-Luc calls "a diamond in the rough." Its most recent occupant was Easy as Cake, a family-run bakery and café that closed last fall. But it's best known as the longtime home of Bayside Bakery & Coffee Bar.
When it launches in April, Pioneer Lakeshore Café will be open Tuesday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., Jean-Luc said; find updates on Instagram at @pioneerfoodvt.