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November 23, 2011

Leunig's Bistro to Expand — Upward

LeunigsIn spite of the enduring popularity of Leunig's Bistro, co-owner Bob Conlon is sometimes dismayed by the crowds that build in the front room as people wait for tables.

"When you're packed in like sardines and it's three deep at the bar, by the time you sit down, you may not be in the best of moods," he observes. "It's a great problem for us to have, but we want to make the experience better."

So 30-year-old Leunig's is growing — vertically. The owners have taken out a lease on a space directly above the restaurant, and are busy building a bar and lounge that should be open between Christmas and New Year's.

"It will not be Burlington's new nightclub. We'll close it at the same time as the restaurant," says Conlon. "We're really looking for a nice, comfortable place where perhaps you can sit and have a drink and conversation at the same time. We're hoping to keep it pretty civilized." 

A new set of stairs behind the ground floor bar will lead to the upstairs room, which will seat around 40 and have a limited bar menu — pâté, cheese plates and the like. A few new bartenders have already joined the staff in anticipation of the opening.

Conlon hopes the new space will also equip Leunig's to take on private parties. "Right now, we turn down wedding rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, and company parties. So we'll be able to use the room for those," he says. 




Sorry to have to say this but while others may be flocking to leunigs this long time customer has quit the ranks- at least for now. The prices have gone up considerably over past few years while the quality of the food has dived. I can understand prices going up, but the only excuse for declining quality is poor management. Restaurants need to maintain quality because you are only as good as your last meal (from customers pov). Unfortunately what once was the nicest place to dine in Burlington has lost much of its appeal.

Will it be handicapped accessible?

I couldn't agree more with the above statement. Some restaurants seem to be able to get away with hiked prices and poor service only because they are on Church Street -- a real shame. I used to be a regular diner but, after two extremely poor experiences, I vowed not to return. A shame as I used to send visitors here but no longer. This is restaurant that seems to think they can get away with anything.

This is Bob Conlon, manager and co-owner at Leunigs. I'm sorry that Greg and Andy do not enjoy themselves at Leunigs anymore. We are not the same restaurant we were 30 years ago when I started here. I beleive that we are much better, but Andy and Greg can beleive what they want. The fact that our business (number of guests served) has increased every year for the past 12 years leads me to beleive that we are not as bad as those fellows think. We have hundreds of regular customers. We employ 74 people, and have served consistantly good food with personable, knowledgeable and responsive service. Is every meal at Leunigs without a flaw? Of course not. But 99% of our diners have a great experience. Those who are unhappy, and let their server know, are offered another meal to their liking. The biggest complaint we get is that we are too crowded and loud and that the line at the door is uncomfortable. Our expansion is an attempt to improve that situation. Take it from me, our food has never been better. What you don't get at Leunigs much anymore is that quiet, romantic table in a nearly empty dining room that we had so many nights in the past.

I hope Andy and Greg have found what they like in other fine spots in town, but Leunigs is what it is. We are just your neighbors trying our best to satisfy our guests and contribute to our community.

The most disappointing thing about Leunigs is that the quality of the food went south while the prices went north. I still like the ambiance but my last six meals there have trained me to go elsewhere. i kept thinking "give it one more chance..." (sigh)

Bob, sorry, that's not my "belief"- that's my experience.

Good luck Bob, some people would badmouth Santa if he got a blog post in 7D!

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