In 1995, in an old Red Lobster that went under, opened an old-style, old-fashionned deli-bar.
La Station became an institution in Hull, specializing in smoked meat and other delicatessen delicacy. It quickly became a popular hang-out, especially for the twentysomething and thirtysomething crowd, but not exclusively. It wasn’t rare to see a 20 mins line-up at breakfast time during the week-end. And, for the party-goers and the bar-closers crowd, the place was open 24 hours from Thursdays to Saturdays, the only restaurant doing so in Hull. The place was also hosting different community events for charity purposes, such as “Le déjeuner du Commandant”, where SQ officers served breakfast to raise money for La Fondation Québécoise du Cancer.
But it all went up in smoke on the 5th of February 2007 as a fire destroy the place. The owners, who also own La Cage aux Sports in Hull and Georges Lounge and Grill , a trendy steakhouse in the old Au Coq building, promised to re-open quickly. They did so in the fall, with a bigger building, a 100 more seats and a new wood oven.
Yesterday was my second visit to the new Station. I had been disapointed by my first visit after the re-opening, but I decided to give it another try because I did enjoy the old Station very much.
So I went yesterday with my lady and another lady friend for a late night dinner. And, again, the old Station I remember so fondly is long gone. The ambiance used to be quite warm and friendly, with all kind of old school memorabilia, signs, posters, items of all kinds hanging around, giving it a very cool retro look and feel. All gone. The fire is to blame of course, but the owners could have found some items to decorate. Instead of the good old deli feel we had back then, we now walk in a cold and very noisy place without a soul. No need to believe me – here is how our young waitress described the new place: “It’s like working in a big cafeteria!” she said. No kidding. You are drowned by loud hip-hop music and the very high ceiling and open-space concept does carry people’s conversations and kitchen noises. And the crowd is now much younger then it used to be. Or is it me that is getting much older?
Anyway, now about the food. I ordered the deli club sandwich, a thick serving of their delicious smoked meat, topped with crispy bacon, cheese, tomatoes and lettuce. It’s a nice twist of an old classic, and I added some dijon mustard to complete it. It was very filling, to say the least. It came with french fries, the battered and breaded kind which were alright, and with a side of a very boring and watery coleslaw.
My partners in crime last night went for simpler items – neither were disapointed. The all-dressed pizza was very tasty, with a zippy tomato sauce and fresh toppings. Cooked in the oven wood, it had a fabulous crispiness. The italian poutine was a very filling serving of their fries, topped with their thick and meaty spaghetti sauce and fresh cheese curds. The sauce could have been warmer to help the melting of the cheese, but it was still very well done.
With a pitcher of beer, we chipped in about 20$ each. Not bad, but I sorely miss the old Station.