Chef Q&A: Meet Andrew Brochu of Brochu’s Family Tradition

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But while the pandemic may have halted Brochu’s plans for a Windy City space, it also brought him to Savannah — his wife Sophie’s hometown — to be closer to family (Brochu himself attended high school in Georgia). “Once we took the change, made the move, and started looking for spaces in Savannah, that’s when it became the right call [to move the restaurant],” he says. 

The long-fought process of opening Brochu’s Family Tradition has finally come to fruition: The restaurant debuts at Station 24 in Starland this spring, bringing with it a cuisine and atmosphere meant to evoke the feeling of a relaxed family gathering. “Our concept was always inspired by home,” Brochu says. “Now, it feels even more personal.” 

I wouldn’t say there was ever a defining moment where moving the restaurant was the absolute right call. In fact, it was less about the restaurant and more about our lives on a personal level. During the pandemic there were many unknowns and a lot of discussion about the future. Sophie and I were both born and raised down South, and we’d always talked about moving back, eventually, to be closer to family. There’s a deeper sense of family and home [here].

“I want to build a place where guests feel an overwhelming sense of neighborly hospitality. Being in Savannah, I think that’s just natural.”  

— Andrew Brochu

Guests can count on a boisterous gathering place with quality, casual food and drinks. It’s inspired by the jovial family gatherings I grew up being a part of: crab boils, backyard parties, that sort of thing. This is why we went with the name Brochu’s Family Tradition. It’s all about family, hospitality and gathering together over a shared meal.

It’s not only the food scene here, but in general, what food in the South does for me. We’re coastal, and we have ingredients that I love cooking, from the produce to fresh seafood. The subtropical climate lends itself to a comfortable atmosphere, where we can gather inside or be outside most of the year. There’s also so much room for growth in Savannah, and I’m excited to be a part of that. Southern hospitality and nostalgic food were always an underlying theme of Brochu’s, and really, everything I’ve been doing in my career. I want to build a place where guests feel an overwhelming sense of neighborly hospitality. Being in Savannah, I think that’s just natural. Folks know genuine hospitality and they’ll recognize it at Brochu’s as soon as they walk through the door.

I’ve worked in so many different styles of restaurants, from mom-and-pop dives to some of the most high-end places in the world. I’ve found a massive amount of inspiration and beauty on both ends. And some things I couldn’t stand, but I learned from them. At this stage in my life and career, I believe in cooking like a mom or a dad or a grandma: Care about what you are cooking, spend the time to build flavors, cook what makes you and others happy and just really love the craft. I find that the most complex, delicious food for me is food that’s cooked all day over a single pot — and enjoying that process along the way is key.