Le Pied Bleu: Serving up Fun and Gourmet Pleasure

Louis Bouchard Trudeau, propriétaire du restaurant le Pied bleu
Simon Jodoin / Tour du Québec

Before Le Pied Bleu opened its doors in 2012, the Saint-Sauveur neighbourhood was best known for Alys Robi (she was born there) and Roger Lemelin’s Les Plouffes. The district was in need of some rejuvenating. The restaurant run by Louis Bouchard Trudeau and Thania Goyette has since become one of Québec City’s leading eateries. 

It would be impossible to introduce Le Pied Bleu without first mentioning the flair and bold enthusiasm of its two owners, businesspeople who have indeed created quite a ripple effect in the neighbourhood. If their friendly charcuterie restaurant hadn’t taken up residence on Rue Saint-Vallier Ouest, chances are that Chez Tao, Le Griendel, Le Kraken Cru and others wouldn’t have set up shop along this artery. “We thought no one would come when we first opened here,” recalled Louis Bouchard Trudeau. “There weren’t that many restaurants. There were a few Asian places, but that was it. In the end, we took off like gangbusters and had lots of people right from the start. Le Pied Bleu is located in the former Joe Madden men’s notions store, which sold hats. It used to be a commercial street, there used to be stuff happening here. I think people are in the process of coming back. We’re returning to something that used to exist here. I’m a great believer in the theory of the wheel that keeps on turning. In any case, I’m proud of my neighbourhood.” 

Frequented by tourists and suburbanites alike, Rue Saint-Vallier Ouest is now full of surprising gourmet finds, and in the evening it comes alive like never before. More and more, it’s the street people in Québec City head to when they go out. With the closure of Le Cercle, the trendy area seems to have gradually shifted west of Langelier, and Le Pied Bleu is integral to this. 

Just Like in Lyon

Blood sausage, tripe, andouillettes... Variety meats (offal) are what put Le Pied Bleu on the map in the beginning, even earning it a whole collection of medals and trophies across the Atlantic in the French town of Mortagne-au-Perche, which presents awards for the best blood sausage in the world. 

Louis Bouchard Trudeau is an internationally renowned pork butcher and restaurant owner who is unabashedly self-taught. He learned the rudiments of his trade on the job, for lack of available training because, here, academic recognition of this skill is slow in the coming. “Training programs for becoming a charcutier are not yet available in Québec. I’d love it to come one day. I was a chef in various restaurants and decided to make my own charcuterie, and about 16 years ago, I had fun trying my hand at making blood sausage. From there, I never looked back. When we started, we always used suckling pig. It was pretty much trial and error, with information gleaned from the Internet. We tried everything. Now, we bring in French pork butchers who teach us other techniques. And we travel too. Every year, I try to go on charcuterie trips. One year, we went to Belgium for white pudding.”

At Thania’s and Louis’ establishment, everything is homemade and crafted with an artisanal flair and love. The duo has always been interested in the bouchon lyonnais (restaurant serving up regional specialties in a cozy ambiance) concept, and they love big tables of people and warm, friendly encounters with customers. This tradition is well aligned with their values. “We were unsure about creating a Québécois restaurant,” admitted Louis. “But then we discovered there were bouchons lyonnais here too. We based ourselves on the concept of big tables, hearty food. We’re purveyors of pleasure, we’re friendly people, we invite people in and cook for them. After they leave, we do the dishes and feel very content.”

It’s not that uncommon for customers at Le Pied Bleu to end up finishing their meals with other guests, in spite of any cultural or language barriers that might otherwise divide them. People from Québec City, from elsewhere in the province or from abroad... They forge spontaneous friendships over the salad cart that rolls among the tables, and also thanks to Louis’ entertaining and charismatic hosting skills.

“If we’ve stuck all the tables together by the end, it means we’ve had a good night. Sometimes 30 or 40 customers end up having a drink together after their meal and that’s perfect.”

Feasting on Life

Noticing that vegetables were piling up in the cold room and wanting to avoid food waste, Le Pied Bleu eventually reached out down Rue Saint-Vallier Ouest to the Le Renard et la Chouette bistro, only a minute’s walk away—an establishment that could be the Le Pied Bleu’s little brother. It boasts quite an extraordinary selection of natural wine by the glass. “The idea, at the beginning,” said Louis, “was really to say ‘I’ve got unused food and I’m going to do something with it.’”

In almost perpetual expansion, the family business is now endeavouring to entice shoppers at the three major city markets: Marché de Sainte-Foy, the Grand Marché de Québec and the Galeries de la Capitale. The Le Pied Bleu kiosks, which bear the name Le roi du boudin, are springing up all over, sharing the company’s culinary delights. As for the restaurant on Rue Saint-Vallier Ouest, a lively evening awaits you, with one of the best gastronomic gifts you could treat yourself to in Québec City!  

Pied Bleu
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Le Pied Bleu: Serving up Fun and Gourmet Pleasure
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