[image-1]No this isn’t a real life version of Groundhog Day, there is, in fact, another French restaurant opening. No!? Oui! Tis true. Former Art Institute culinary instructor Bernard Vard, who moved to Charleston from New Jersey two years ago, plans to open Bougnat at 536 Belle Station in Mt. Pleasant around May 15. The space, formerly Bistro 536, will have 55 seats along with a 10-seat bar.

Vard tells City Paper that his restaurant derives its name from the legacy of coal miners in his hometown of Clermont-Ferrand in the French region of Auvergne (incidentally also the town where Michelin tires originated). “In the old days these coal miners would migrate to Paris to sell coal for heating and would establish brasseries and bistros. They were referred to as Bougnats. The name is still used today,” says Vard.

But even with that name and his own heritage, Vard shies away from calling Bougnat a “French” restaurant. “French restaurants are kinda boring,” he says, and plans to not be limited by the label. That said, the current menu, which he shared with City Paper, leans decidedly Gallic with traditional takes on moules marinieres and coq au vin. “I believe in a smaller menu,” Vard says. “Then I’ll see what can be changed and what people like.”

In New Jersey the chef had success with two restaurants, BYOB and Pourquoi Pas, and hopes to gain a following in Mt. Pleasant.

Bougnat Menu


Escargots de Bourgogne Aux Croutons.$9.50

Potato Goat Cheese Tart, draped with Smoked Salmon, served with Baby Greens.$11.50

Roasted Baby Red Beets, Asparagus, Blue Cheese Cream.$8.50

Moules Marinieres with Cream & Garlic Sauce.$11.95

Assorted Greens, oven dried tomatoes, baked red onions, fried eggplant, with a Balsamic Vinegar Dressing.$8.50

Curried Cream of Cauliflowers and Green Apples.$7.50


Coq Au Vin “A L’auvergnate”.$19.95

Roasted Pork Tenderloin, Baked Apples, Calvados Sauce.$19.95

Tournedos of Beef, Blue Cheese Beurre, Port Wine Demi Glace.$28.95

Braised Beef Short Ribs cooked in Beer and Onion.$23.95

Breast of Duck, Raspberry Vinegar Sauce.$23.00

Fillet of Scottish Salmon served over Butternut Squash, Red Wine Braised Cipollini Onions.$22.00

Golden Seabass Wrapped in Bacon, Le Puy Lentils, Carrot Jus Reductions.$23.50

Shrimp and Scallops Casserole Printaniere.$24.00


Crème Brulee.$7.50

Almond Cake, Orange Mascarpone Cream, Strawberries in Balsamic Vinegar.$7.50

White Chocolate Rice Pudding, Coulis of Red Fruits.$7.50

Profiteroles with Vanilla Ice Cream, Chocolate Sauce.$7.50