Ray Kraushar, owner of Nectar Social House, is sanguine about surviving her first year in the restaurant business. “Where did that year go?” she asks chef David Clark, who shrugs along wistfully in remembrance of lost time.
She’s chuffed about winning Best Restaurant in Dartmouth in her first year, too. Was it ever touch and go? “Never,” Kraushar tells me. “It was busy from the first day we opened,” she says confidently. “I hit my goals bang on. The plan was to have more people in the restaurant spending less, but what we have are less people here spending more.”
Which means, she says, they estimated conservatively and there’s room to grow. She’s putting money on it. They are in the final stages of finishing a stone patio, with an open fireplace and heaters. They will be open on Sundays all summer and she’s planning a first anniversary party in June.
She’s tight-lipped about her second-year goals, aside from wryly suggesting she could win Best Restaurant. They might put a second floor on their purpose-built restaurant.
Do many Haligonians make the trip to Nectar, or do they still put the insular in peninsular? Word’s got out Kraushar says. She figures a quarter of her clientele is from Halifax, and that’s growing, but most diners (about forty percent) say they come from “just from a round the corner.”
Foot traffic will only grow, she says, pointing to the condos going up next door on the site of the old Masonic Lodge, Greenvale School getting the condo-ized, and of course, the mega-project on the marine slips.
We hope Nectar’s success is a positive sign that downtown Dartmouth’s urban renewal is finally approaching a critical mass.