Fat Tuesdays Leaving Byward Market to go on Diet

It has been a sad couple of weeks in Ottawa’s Byward Market since Fat Tuesdays announced its departure from the lively lineup of restaurants. The news, however, is not all bad. Fat Tuesdays is taking his leave to get himself into better shape.

Ottawhat News sat down with Mr. Fat Tuesday for an exclusive and intimate interview.

Ottawhat News: Mr. Tuesday, what is the story behind your departure?
Fat Tuesday: Like I said in the press release, it’s to lose weight.

OWN: Of course, but what’s the story behind the story?
FT: After fourteen years in the market, I’ve made a lot of friends. I’ve seen my friends grow up, get new jobs, get married, have kids, and all that. After a while you start to feel bad for yourself, being stagnant and all that. I haven’t changed or grown – well, I have physically grown, but I haven’t grown as a person. Sure we offer great Cajun cuisine and a great dueling pianos show, but there’s more to life and I feel like I’ve missed it.

OWN: So you’re planning to “find yourself”?
FT: Why did you put quotes around “find yourself”?

OWN: Sorry, I didn’t think you could see punctuation.
FT: It’s a serious matter. I’m looking for self-actualization; I want to really understand myself. I thought I had it all when I was serving up food for all my friends. But then a few years go by and you’ve put on a few pounds because all you eat is fried food, and you think, “I can lose this, it’s no problem” but you forget about it the next time some coconut shrimp passes by. You keep going like that for a few more years and then you feel like something is missing, you know?

OWN: Missing?
FT: My raison d’être, my reason to exist. Anyone can make good food, but what sets me apart? Why am I doing all this? I see friends come and go all the time that I’m almost numb to it. I’m numb to a lot of things, I guess. I think that’s why I started eating a lot, to help me feel something. Like I’ve been saying all along, I need to become a better me, to be more true to myself. I started to notice about two years ago that my business was starting to slip. I tried to fix it with gimmicks, but that ended up driving more business away. That made me more sad so I continued eating to feel better.

OWN: What made you realize you wanted to make this serious change?
FT: My daughter, Ruby Tuesday, she came to visit me from the US about six months ago. We were having dinner one night and she was telling me about how she managed to form a deal with a motel chain the States. They were going to put her next to every motel in the country. I was shocked, you know? I taught her everything she knows about the restaurant business and here she was signing a major deal. I looked at myself and everything became so clear. I knew I had to do rediscover what made me special, and keep hitting that point.

OWN: How are you planning on finding what you’re looking for?
FT: I’m going to start eating right again, staying active by hitting the gym a few times a week. I’ve got this great trainer who has agreed to help me out in exchange for exclusive rights to a book which he’s going to call “Fat to Fit Tuesday”. I’m going to take three months off after six months of training to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, and then to Japan to climb Mount Fuji, and after that, I’m going back to New Orleans to reconnect with my roots.

OWN: Do you plan to return to Ottawa once you’re done?
FT: Yeah, but not to the Byward Market. I’m thinking of going a little further west to Kanata. They have more of a relaxed lifestyle than the downtown crowd. I think I’ll be able to find a suitable home there to test out the new me.

OWN: Have you heard of any plans to cover your vacant spot in the market?
FT: I heard they were going to bring in something called “Starbucks Evening” where they sell alcohol after 4 pm.

OWN: What’s your opinion of that?
FT: Can this be off the record?

OWN: Sure.
FT: I think it’s a silly idea, you go to Starbucks for coffee, not alcohol. Some people will love it, other people will hate it. Me personally, I’m somewhere in between. These baristas have to learn the most complicated coffee recipes, and now you’re going to make them learn how to mix cocktails? It seems like it’s unfair to the workers. Plus, once the late night crowd comes in you get all sorts of weirdos. Best of luck to them though. […] Wait, I thought you said this would be off the record.

OWN: I stopped the recording.
FT: No, I can see the red light still.

OWN: OK fine, I don’t actually know how to stop it recording. It’s a new recorder, this is my first time using it.
FT: Play it back, let me see what I said.

OWN: Okay. [Playback begins]

OWN: Sure.

FT: I think it’s a silly idea, you go to Starbucks for coffee, not alcohol. Some people will love it, other people will hate it. Me personally, I’m somewhere in between. These baristas have to learn the most complicated coffee recipes, and now you’re going to make them learn how to mix cocktails? It seems like it’s unfair to the workers. Plus, once the late night crowd comes in you get all sorts of weirdos. Best of luck to them though. […] Wait, I thought you said this would be off the record.

OWN: I stopped the recording.

FT: No, I can see the red light still.

OWN: OK fine, I don’t actually know how to stop it recording. It’s a new recorder, this is my first time using it.

FT: Play it back, let me see what I said.

OWN: Okay.

FT: Actually that’s fine, you can leave that on the record. Do you have any more questions?

OWN: One last one. What advice do you have for other restaurants looking to grow?
FT: That’s a good question. I guess I would have to stay stick to your roots. You can grow and change all you want, but be honest with yourself. If you personally don’t agree with the direction you’re headed, change direction. You’ve got an infinite number of chances out there so do what you’ll be most proud of.

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