By Mike Cohen and Tony Medeiros
Who does not love a treat at Lafleur Restaurants?
Both of us have been going to eat at Lafleur for as long as we can remember. But how did this popular fast food chain begin? Who are the owners? What are the future plans?
It was a pleasure to accept the invitation of Director of Marketing and Communications Alexandra Tsotsis to visit the completely revamped and iconic Côte-de-Liesse location in Lachine and get a firsthand look at the company’s new brand image.
The new decor, created by Groupe Leclerc in collaboration with Montarville and design agency Cléo Katcho, features subtle elements reminiscent of the emblematic Lafleur Restaurants logo. The architecture and design have been carefully thought out to create a space that is both modern and welcoming, with the aim of rejuvenating the brand’s image. Shades of green and beige were used harmoniously, bringing freshness and dynamism to the space, which can now accommodate 72 people. There are comfortable booths, some tables outside and a drive-thru window.
This renovation is the result of a multi-million-dollar investment, marking a major turning point for the brand since its takeover in 2022 by the second generation of the Papagiannis family. It is the first of what will be a long series of transformations planned for Lafleur Restaurants.
Brothers George and John Papagiannis took the helm of the restaurants with the aim of rejuvenating the brand while preserving the original values established by their father Achille. Their expansion project was to involve not only the modernization of the branches but also a strong presence on social networks. That is where the dynamic Tsotsis, the wife of George, comes in.
With the creation of the character Lucie Lafleur, the popular 63-year-old cashier, the Lafleur TikTok account reached 32,600 subscribers only eight months after its creation.
“We are extremely proud to present the new image of Lafleur Restaurants,” said George Papagiannis. “This transformation, combined with Lucie’s arrival on TikTok and social networks, demonstrates our profound desire to rejuvenate and energize the brand. Given that consumer tastes, expectations and preferences are rapidly evolving, it was imperative for us to modernize our approach in order to thrive in a constantly changing environment.”
Over the next five years, the Papagiannis brothers plan to double the number of Lafleur restaurants, from 16 to 32 locations. The first expansion will see the debut of Lafleur in Laval, with a location at Cure Labelle and the 440 for next June. Following that Magog and Longueil will be on the list. They will all be outfitted with the new branding. The same goes for many of the existing venues.
The chain was first established in 1951 with a potato truck and debuted as a restaurant 10 years later at Lafleur Avenue in LaSalle. “Many people mistakenly think our name came from the Lafleur hotdog or Guy Lafleur,” Tsotsis laughed.
Achille Papagiannis owned the Petit Québec fast food chain. In 2011 he bought Lafleur.
Lafleur, of course, is noted for its steamy hotdogs and deliciously greasy fries. But as we saw from our visit, the menu also has some other great items. For that reason, we skipped the iconic steamies and tried out the cheeseburger, smoked meat sandwich and an incredible crispy chicken crunch sandwich on Brioche bun. Of course, we went for the fries, a popcorn poutine and some Pepsi colas to drink. We left with big smiles on our faces.
The Côte-de-Liesse location was closed for many months to accommodate the huge makeover. Since reopening, Tsotsis says that business has doubled. The clientele is developing into a nice mix of workers in the area, families and youth. “What we offer is real comfort food,” she said. “Who doesn’t love that?”
The newly renovated restaurant is located at 10800 De la Côte-de-Liesse Rd, Lachine, Quebec H8T 1A6 Opening hours are 11 am to 10 pm seven days a week. For more information log on to https://restolafleur.com.