Lauragais: an uncertain future for the Lenclas lake restaurant

The manager of the restaurant La Ferme d’Émile & Fernand, which opened in June 2021 at Lake Lenclas, is ceasing its activity. He hopes to be able to sell the business in order to make the place last. (©Angélique Passebosc – Voice of the Midi Lauragais)

Could this be the end of Emile & Fernand’s Farmthe restaurant which opened its doors in June 2021 on the site of Lenclas lake, in the commune of Saint-Félix-Lauragais? In any case, this is what the mayor suggested, Alain Bourrelat a municipal council meeting, Thursday, October 6, 2022, announcing “the end of activity” of the establishment.

On its Facebook page, La Ferme d’Émile & Fernand announced, at the end of September, close its doors on Sunday October 2. But for a time only: a discreet “See you next year”, inserted in his last publication, indeed suggests that the restaurant will open again in 2023.

A lack of closeness

So what is it really? Reached by telephone, the manager of La Ferme d’Émile & Fernand – who is also at the head of La Table d’Émile & Fernand in Toulouse – confirms the sale of his business. And explains:

From an establishment like this, you have to be able to take care of it properly, with more proximity. I made the mistake of opening it far from my first restaurant. Today, several factors mean that I cannot meet the expectations of customers and the town hall. So rather than going into debt and restraining it like we did this year, I prefer to leave it to someone in the area who will know how to develop it. It really is something that can be a hit!

Stephane MerryManager of La Ferme d’Émile & Fernand

The only wish of Stephane Merry would therefore be that a person who knows the territory and its inhabitants takes over La Ferme d’Émile & Fernand – or at least the establishment of the lake of Lenclas, since the brand belongs to him – in order to “meet the expectations of the population”.

An agreement to be reached with the town hall

The mayor of Saint-Félix-Lauragais specified in the municipal council that the objective would also be, for the manager, to “sell the restaurant as it is now”, that is to say with all its equipment. “If he couldn’t sell, he would take back what he bought. »

A prospect that does not really delight the municipality, which remains the owner of the premises: “We should avoid having Lenclas stripped of us…”

My goal is not there. I want the best for this restaurant because it is close to my heart. It deserves to work. But I invested a lot of money to make it a nice establishment. So I would have to find someone to help me take it back without costing me an arm and a leg.

Stephane Merry
La Ferme d'Émile & Fernand may not reopen in 2023.
La Ferme d’Émile & Fernand may not reopen in 2023. (©Angélique Passebosc – Voice of the Midi Lauragais)

Charges therefore to the municipality of come to an agreement with the manager. “He put a lot of money into this establishment and request today that we exempt him from the rents until a buyer shows up,” Alain Bourrel told elected officials, inviting them to give their opinion on the situation. Before adding:

Videos: currently on Actu

Yes, we are going from setback to setback: we thought we had closed the file and now we are reopening it… But we have to find activity on Lenclas, even if it is complicated to keep this site alive.

A possible reopening

In the event that he does not find a buyer by next season, Stéphane Joyeux could reopen the doors of La Ferme d’Émile & Fernand in the summer of 2023. “But I have several leads, so that should do it,” he said confidently.

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