Thursday, August 30, 2018

Room Service amps up and Uber Eats arrives

Special delivery!

Posted By on Thu, Aug 30, 2018 at 5:02 AM


It was a good week for hungry hungry homebodies. First, the bigwigs of Uber Eats landed on local soil, offering up restaurant delivery services that you can dial up and track via your phone, subtracting almost all human contact from your restaurant experience. (We all deserve the right to hermit sometimes.) Even though we can’t Uber Car here, we can now Uber Eat from spots like Heartwood, Jubilee Junction, CHKN Chop and Unchained Kitchen, plus a sprawling roster of others. You can get that fancy app to see it all for yourself.

Then, local hangover heroes/mobile convenience store Room Service announced it loves Dartmouth just as much as Halifax and would be expanding its service area across the bridge. (There’s even a promo code—hellodartmouth—for those thinking of ordering something.) Dartmouth’s delivery will start small, between 6 and 11:30pm with a slightly limited offering, but marks the beginning of Room Service’s HRM expansion. No need to leave home ever again!
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Thursday, July 26, 2018

Katch Seafood opens on Pizza Corner

Late night fish and chips anyone?

Posted By on Thu, Jul 26, 2018 at 11:04 AM

  • Danielle McCreadie
Downtown Halifax’s infamous Pizza Corner is reeling in a new clientele.

Katch Seafood, a fast-casual twist on the traditional fish and chips, is opening under the same roof as Pizza Girls (1560 Grafton Street). The new brand will have six different kinds of batters, as well as fish tacos and salads.

Business partner Connor Stoilov is excited to showcase the new brand.

“Pizza corner is our flagship location and we've spent a lot of the last few months getting this ramped up and ready to launch, so we're definitely really excited,” he says.

The company opened its first co-branded location in Tantallon in February 2017 and is excited to start rolling it out across the province. It also hopes to franchise the brand across Canada in the future.

“Putting them together down in Tantallon, we've seen a lot of grandparents and parents bringing their kids down, and the kids love the pizza and the adults love the seafood, so it works really well,” says Stoilov.

“What we think is really unique is there's never been any late-night places for fish and chips. It’s something that’s missing downtown,” he says.

The new location will be open until 5am, so you'll be able to get fish and chips after your night out.

Katch also has a location on the waterfront, and will be launching locations in the Halifax Shopping Centre, Scotia Square and in downtown Moncton later this summer.
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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Aly Mae's Bread Basket brings Mary's cinnamon buns back to life

Legendary desserts for Dartmouth

Posted By on Thu, Jun 28, 2018 at 1:00 AM

The days of Mary’s Bread Basket’s line-up-worthy cinnamon buns and nostalgia-inducing aromas are not behind us. The legendary staple that most folks remember from days of yore at the Historic Farmers’ Market (1496 Lower Water Street) disappeared from the Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market (1209 Marginal Road) about two years ago but is back in action as of last week. The next iteration of the classic is called Aly Mae’s Bread Basket (11 Mount Hope Avenue, near the Dartmouth General Hospital). “They’ve been selling out like crazy,” says Gabrielle McNeill of the famous buns. She helps her sister Alysha Mae McNeill (AKA Aly Mae) run the business, which their family took over from their aunt Mary Mohammed. The new Dartmouth location sells cookies, squares, croissants and other baked goodness for now, alongside the cinnamon buns, with bread and English muffins to come later. Aly Mae’s aims to be back at the Seaport and Alderney Farmers’ Markets (2 Ochterloney Street) in the next couple of weeks.
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Saturday, June 23, 2018

Former Smiling Goat workers are opening Glitter Bean Cafe

The cooperatively run, queer-centred coffee shop opens in July

Posted By on Sat, Jun 23, 2018 at 11:19 AM

  • via @glitterbeancafe

Glitter Bean Cafe is the newest cooperative cafe to hit Halifax, started by the same baristas who worked at the Smiling Goat.

“It’s a model that we think empowers workers, it’s also a model we think shares the workload and minimizes hierarchy,” says Charlie Huntley, vice-president of the cooperative and a barista.

The idea to start their own cafe was talked about between the workers at the Smiling Goat for years, but after the 5896 Spring Garden Road location (which was formerly a Just Us!) closed in April, its staff decided to make it a reality.

“We signed an agreement with Just Us! for a reduced rent if we carry their coffee, and some funding from our union, and we found some personal funding as well,” says Huntley. “So we were able to pull it off financially which was a major component we were missing before now.”

Glitter Bean is set to be the first queer themed cafe in the city.

“It’s explicitly queer but not exclusively queer,” says Huntley. “It centres on queerness and a queer aesthetic and queer workers and queer customers, but also we want it to be open and welcoming and make other people feel safe as well.”

“Having a queer cafe in the city is important because there are very few queer spaces in Halifax at the moment,” says Huntley. “A cafe is an establishment where younger folks, folks who are underage and queer, can go. It’s also just important to build queer community and have a space where queer folks an feel safe and feel represented and feel reflected in the workforce at the business.”

Glitter Bean plans to open by the second week of July, but the date has not been finalized.

“We wear queerness on our sleeves," says Huntley, "it just made sense for us to open a cafe that aligned with our values and aesthetics.”

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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Agricola Street Brasserie debuts a new rooftop bar

Billow Bar is all about booze and barbecue.

Posted By on Wed, May 9, 2018 at 4:16 PM


The folks behind Agricola Street Brasserie (2540 Agricola Street) and Little Oak (1475 Lower Water Street) are adding something extra to their repertoire. Just in time for patio season, the Brasserie’s upstairs patio will now be known as Billow Bar Rooftop Cocktails & BBQ, a sunny spot to drink, eat and eat some more. The 50-seater, which aims to debut this month, will boast a menu of southern barbecue inspired eats (think brisket and biscuits) courtesy of chef  Ludovic Eveno and creative ice cream sandwiches from chef  Julie Cook (like passionfruit and carrot). The wine and craft beers will be flowing, with a cocktail menu that’ll change regularly rounding out the drinkable offerings. 
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Monday, February 12, 2018

Ruby's brings the south to Salter Street

The southern-style restaurant is slated to open at the end of March.

Posted By on Mon, Feb 12, 2018 at 11:50 AM

  • via Facebook

If you have the very specific hankering for cowboy hat light fixtures, you’re in luck.

Ruby's Rhinestone Reception & Lounge
(5187 Salter Street) is expected to open at the end of March. 

Owner Steve Caryi, a US-based businessperson, saw a market for a southern-style eatery in HRM. Caryi owns Halifax real estate company ComVest Commercial and currently lives in Florida, but he’s originally from the south. “All the bars down there have that kind of theme to them and he loves that, so he wanted to do one here,” says marketing spokesperson Amber Lise. “There’s not one like it.”

Lise describes the soon-to-open restaurant as a place with a casual vibe, but high-end food. The menu is still getting finalized. Diners should expect steak, fried chicken, fajitas and other southern fare.

Editor's note: At the request of the interviewee, one quote was rescinded from the piece.

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Friday, December 22, 2017

Buta Ramen is here to warm you up

Restaurateur Francis Yoon left Toronto for the Maritimes and hasn't looked back. Luckily, he brought ramen with him.

Posted By on Fri, Dec 22, 2017 at 10:00 AM

click image VIA FACEBOOK
  • Via Facebook

A new place to sip hot broth and slurp on noodles is open just in time for Haligonians to escape the frigid winter winds. Buta Ramen has set up shop at the former home of Hamachi House (5190 Morris Street) under the ownership of Francis Yoon.

“So far, we are getting very good feedback,” says Yoon, who has owned several restaurants in Toronto. After travelling to other parts of the country, he realized he wanted to live on the east coast.

“I still wanted to do the same thing—I want to to the same thing for the rest of my life,” he explains.

Yoon left for Moncton three years ago and opened an eatery there. While living in New Brunswick, he made frequent visits to Halifax, liked the city and “tried lots of good restaurants” here. While he noticed plenty of places to get sushi or Korean food, he felt the city could benefit from a ramen joint. Yoon has included ramen on his menus before, but this is the first time he is focusing on the dish specifically.

For now, Buta has a selection of tonkotsu, tantanmen and nagasaki champon ramen: all pork-based. Appetizers include spicy edamame, shrimp and octopus. “Once my chef gets trained and used to these menus, what I’m planning is to introduce more—I have so many different ideas and options,” says Yoon. Namely, he plans to expand the offerings to include vegetarian ramen.

So far, Yoon has no qualms about leaving big city life behind.

“Here, I just want to be more happy. Concentrated on what I’m doing instead of worrying about paying rent,” he says. “Here I can be more relaxed—and if I’m relaxed, then my staff’s all relaxed and happy. I think customers come in and enjoy and have a good time.”

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Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Coming soon to Lower Water Street, aFrite

Andrew Al-Khouri's restaurant opens November 23

Posted By on Tue, Oct 24, 2017 at 5:16 PM

  • via Master Chef

Remember Andrew Al-Khouri? The plucky Cape Bretoner-turned-Haligonian made a splash on Master Chef Canada in 2015, earning his spot on the airwaves with a no frills donair gnocchi and tapping out in the top 10. Then, he was a tax officer with a passion for cooking bored by his day job. Now, he’s opening a restaurant.

“I’ve always liked freedom to be who I want to be and do what I want to do. The worst reality I can think of is one where I have to do one thing for the rest of my life,” says Al-Khouri, who’s operated a catering and private chef service—Zatar Catering—as a side hustle since competing on the show. But after a couple of years of planning, he’s found a home base for his food. Come the end of November he’ll debut aFrite, a 30-seater spot with a small menu at 1360 Lower Water Street, the former Choco Cafe.

“It means fried in French, but what it really is named after is something my mom used to call me when I was kid. In Arabic it means shithead, troublemaker, little devil. It’s an endearing term,” he says, with a laugh. “I got all my motivation and inspiration from learning from my mother and seeing her amazing Middle Eastern-style cooking.”

aFrite will have an entirely open kitchen, some communal seating and a chef’s bar and an ever-changing chalkboard menu where each dish and appetizer will have a suggested beer and wine pairing (thanks to sommelier Danny Hewitt and Tidehouse Brewing Co.).

“There is absolutely no genre. People ask what I’ll be serving and I say world fusion which essentially means nothing. And everything. The point is not having restrictions—being a troublemaker,” says Al-Khouri. “If we want to have foie gras one week and spam the next, we will.”

He’ll be a bit of a switch hitter, spending time in the kitchen with chef Pam Eye but also helping out with service, aiming to provide a dining experience that’s interactive, fun and delicious without abiding by any set-in-stone parameters. And yeah, there’ll probably be some donair gnocchi.

“The idea is to offset what’s already down there with something different,” says Al-Khouri. “It’s built around what I think Halifax needs, which is a little culinary flair.”

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Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Vandal Doughnuts moves into Gus' Pub

Posted By on Tue, Oct 10, 2017 at 5:05 PM


The duo behind Riot Snack Bar (6293 Quinpool Road) want to help heal the hole in your heart Ace Burger Co. left when it said goodbye to its Gus’ Pub (2605 Agricola Street) location a couple of weeks ago. Emphasis on the hole. Nicole Tufts and Sonia Gillies-da Mota are gearing up to open Vandal Doughnuts in its place, a little cafe and bakery that’ll focus on “creativity, art and quality” and as much local stuff as possible.

“It had to be fun and unique enough to stand with the best of Agricola,” says Tufts, of the idea to spinoff into the north end. “We gave it a lot of thought and decided to re-visit a little dream we had to open a funky doughnut shop!” Vandal opens soon, and will serve coffee and all-day breakfast, sandwiches and of course, its namesake fried doughy dessert from 8am ’til 10pm. Follow along here for updates.
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Mr. Bern's BBQ on the Run heats up on Barrington Street

Feeling the Bern's

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 12:41 PM

Rolly Panaligan, Neil Tantiado, Bernard Palparan and Sonny Tubo - GLADYS BUMIDANG PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Rolly Panaligan, Neil Tantiado, Bernard Palparan and Sonny Tubo
  • Gladys Bumidang Photography

“Filipinos are known for feasts,” says Mary Panaligan on a break from the lunch rush at Mr. Bern’s BBQ on the Run. “If there’s a birthday party, it’s a feast. We wanted to offer not just street foods, but a feast. You’ll feel like you’ve been to a party.”

It’s been just under two weeks since the Filipino food truck made its debut, and it’s since been serving up barbecue pork skewers, spring rolls, adobo burgers, chow mein and more from its little lot (complete with picnic tables) on the corner of Barrington and Kent Streets, across from the Superstore.

  • Mary Panaligan
“This is actually run by friends. Filipinos love to spend time together and eat and cook,” says Panaligan. Mr. Bern, by the way, is an acronym for those co-owners—Bernard Palparan, Rolly Panaligan (her husband), Neil Tantiado and Sonny Tubo, who after being told to open a restaurant many times, went for it. It’s a project nearly two years in the making.

“We were immigrants, and it’s hard to put up a business when you’re new to the province. We were starting to save, and we decided to push through,” she adds. And so far, she adds, “it’s exceeded our expectations.”

For now, Mr. Bern’s is open noon to 10pm at its Barrington lot, but hopes to be on the move this fall. “We wanted to be able to cater to a lot of people instead of stay in one place,” says Panaligan. “It’s nice be able to share authentic food with people.”

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Sushi Nami Royale brings izakaya to Queen Street

New location, new concept

Posted By on Wed, Aug 23, 2017 at 12:22 PM


“We just want to bring something new and fun to Halifax,” says Catherine Luo, regional manager of the Sushi Nami restaurant family. After over a decade of opening sushi and Japanese restaurants across the city, the downtown location of Sushi Nami Royale—which has moved from its Dresden Row home to 1458 Queen Street—will open September 1, with a little something extra up its sleeve.

In addition to the dishes and fishes the restaurant is known for, the location will operate as an izakaya restaurant, dishing up Japanese bar food that’s designed to be shared and consumed with with beer and sake.

“We want to let people know what izakaya is, and how to izakaya,” says Luo. The restaurant will have a new look along with the new izakaya menu—with snacks like chicken wings, skewers and lobster sashimi— which will target the after work crowd. Luo says when it comes to izakaya, it’s all about the atmosphere and the energy, which Sushi Nami hopes to provide. “Even if you’re by yourself, you don’t feel like you’re by yourself,” she says. “We hope to let people know why izakaya is so popular.”

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Friday, July 21, 2017

Off Track is bringing a brewery to Bedford

The brewery is expected to open in early October.

Posted By on Fri, Jul 21, 2017 at 1:47 PM


After several years of brewing beer at home, Allan MacKay is following his passion and brewing up a business. Off Track Brewing (275 Rocky Lake Drive), Bedford’s first craft brewery, is opening this fall. 

“I always loved brewing beer,” says MacKay. “I have some friends here in the city that brew quite a bit as well, so that was always a nice thing to get together—a nice social thing.”

MacKay got more serious about making beer after participating in one of Good Robot’s homebrew tap takeovers last summer. He created a peanut butter stout for the occasion, inspired by Nutty Uncle Peanut Butter Stout from Dead Frog Brewery in British Columbia. MacKay’s version was a hit.

“It went over really, really, well. So then I started to think about it on a different level.”

MacKay decided to pursue brewing as a full-time gig. He’s teaming up with Matt Scott and Jon Saunders—both Nova Scotians who had left the province for work, but wanted to come back.

MacKay’s first instinct was to start a brewery in his hometown of Antigonish, but “logistically, it just doesn’t work for us uproot and move there.” Instead, they went with Bedford, where both Scott and Saunders are from.

“We’re all, obviously, huge fans of beer, so the idea of coming home was really appealing,” says MacKay. “And starting a brewery—I don’t know how that can’t be appealing.”

The team looked at upwards of 20 different locations until they found one that suited their needs, settling on Rocky Lake.

For Off Track’s first set of beers, MacKay is leaning to the light side: A pale ale, an American wheat beer and a Kölsch. He’s also bringing back the peanut butter stout for those who may have missed it at GRBCo. From there, the brewery will be rolling out experimental recipes through a smaller, half-barrel system. “Whatever catches on” has the potential to be part of Off Tracks permanent rotation, says MacKay.

He hopes that, as time goes on, Off Track will become a staple business in Bedford.

“You know where The Chickenburger is, you know where Finbar’s—the original—is. Everyone knows those spots, that’s Bedford,” says MacKay. “We want to be Bedford’s brewery.”

Off Track is expected to open in early October.

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Stockpot Cafe simmers in Burnside

New lunch option opens today

Posted By on Thu, Jul 6, 2017 at 7:00 AM


“Basically we’re just three foodies that love to travel and eat and try different food, in the past five years we’ve been across the world,” says Hadi Hafez who opens Stockpot Cafe today in the former location of Burnside lunch favourite, Starfresh Diner (20 Wright Avenue). “We’re Haligonians at heart, we’ve been here 20 or 25 years, but something keeps bringing us back here. All three of us—the chef is my brother, the third owner is a long time friend—we keep meeting in the same place some how.”

They teamed up to open Stockpot Cafe, a spot for quick, homestyle sandwiches, salads and soups that call on mostly Mediterranean cuisine, as well as some hearty, but not over-the-top, fusion dishes like shish shawarma, butter chicken soup, donair salad. “We want to make sure people are getting nourishment while they’re at work,” says Hafez.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Rotisserie chicken heats up on North Street this summer

EDNA owner Jenna Mooers and restaurant builder Andrew Flood team up in the name of charcoal rotisserie chicken

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 11:45 AM


When Robin’s flew the coop, Jenna Mooers and Andrew Flood quickly took flight and locked down the North Street location for a new restaurant.

“We jumped on the space before we even had a business plan because in place just because we wanted the space so badly,” says Mooers. Her partner, Flood, helped build the neighbouring Unfiltered Brewing, so they knew the space was ripe with opportunity.

Flood has worked on a lot of cool spaces in town in his time at Five by Five Renovations, including Stillwell and their beer garden and Good Robot. “He’s well-versed in the realm of building restaurants and bars,” says Mooers, who is herself well versed in operating them.

It didn’t take long to come up with the concept.

“Andrew and I lived together in Montreal for eight years. When we go back, one of our favourite types of food to eat is Portuguese charcoal rotisserie chicken,” Mooers says. “Romados is usually one of the first stops that we make.”

Portuguese chicken has the punch of piri piri sauce, addictively peppery, garlicky and tangy. The rotisserie chicken is kissed by charcoal heat, generally meaning it is moist as hell with perfectly crisped — hopefully singed! — skin since it bastes in its own tasty juices.

That said, Mooers makes it clear that her new place isn’t a Portuguese restaurant. It’s just about the chicken.

“It will be in that style and will have that influence, but we are not going to put a cultural tag on it,” Mooers says. “Obviously we are not Portuguese.” So, basically, when it comes to natas, expect nada.

It’s going to be a casual place. “A joint,” says Mooers. The menu will be focused on take-out, the chicken and fries or salads. Maybe sandwiches. The real focus is the eight-foot charcoal pit where the chicken will be roasting. “Other than that, it will be a pretty small menu,” she says. “We’ll have a couple of local beers and a couple a local wines on tap. And we’ll have a little patio out front and a little bit of seating inside, but it’ll primarily be a take-out restaurant.”

The name is still under wraps. “Every time I told someone I was naming my restaurant EDNA they looked at me and said ‘What?’” she says with a laugh. “So I’m keeping this to myself for a while longer.”

Mooers hopes to be open in July or August.
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Monday, May 15, 2017

Where's the beef? Not at Benny's Burgers

New street food business to offer a variety of vegan burgers.

Posted By on Mon, May 15, 2017 at 2:55 PM

click image The Nacho Macho in all its glory. - VIA INSTAGRAM
  • The Nacho Macho in all its glory.
  • Via Instagram

Ben O’Toole and Morgan Zwicker are challenging the idea that there’s no such thing as vegan comfort food. Later this week, they’ll start slinging all sorts of tasty creations at Benny’s Burgers.

“We realized there’s a lack of vegan street food in Halifax,” says O’Toole. He adds that there are some great “clean eating” and raw options out there, that’s not always what people are looking for—particularly if they’re hungover.

O’Toole has had an interest in cooking since he was a kid, and he’s held a couple different jobs in the food industry. He already owns one food truck, Benny’s Ice Cream, which he started six years ago. That’s where he initially hired Zwicker. O’Toole 's starting to roll out vegan options through that business as well.

“People around here actually do want this stuff, but you don’t really know it because you just see meat everywhere,” says Zwicker.

Benny’s Burgers will soon be hitting up the corner of Spring Garden Road and Grafton Street, featuring burgers topped with hummus, guacamole or even pineapple. The Elvis is Zwicker’s personal favourite menu item.

“It’s a burger with peanut butter, jam, coconut bacon and dried banana pieces,” he says. “It’s kind of sweet but it also has a savoury crunch from the bacon at the same time.”

Is it enough to change the minds of local carnivores? We’ll see.

The patties are gluten free and vegetable-based, with different types of protein such as soy and pea protein. There are gluten-free options for the buns as well.

“When you eat this burger, we don’t want you to know it’s a veggie burger. It tastes really similar to a typical burger. We’re trying to bridge that gap.”

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In Print This Week

Vol 26, No 24
November 8, 2018

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