Openings

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

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“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

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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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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rinaldo’s family focus

In May, Tony and Sam Rinaldo bring Italian American eats to Windsor Street.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Tony and Sam Rinaldo are gearing up to bring Italian American eats to Windsor Street. - RACHEL MCGRATH
  • Tony and Sam Rinaldo are gearing up to bring Italian American eats to Windsor Street.
  • RACHEL MCGRATH

Salvatore Rinaldo didn’t exactly leave a trail of breadcrumbs for his sons, Tony and Sam, to follow. It’s more like a path that was coated in breadcrumbs, fried, and covered in marinara. Who wouldn’t follow that path?

He was, of course, the founder of the original Salvatore’s New York Pizza (now Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo Trattoria). Tony and Sam are just about to open Rinaldo’s (2186 Windsor Street), a brick and mortar restaurant and obvious next step for the brothers who, for the past few years, have been slinging hot dogs and heroes through T-Dogs and their sandwich company, Rinaldo’s Italian American Specialties, a regular feature at the Good Robot gastroturf.

The Rinaldo brothers have teamed up with Steven Haynes, an old family friend who owns winemaking supply store Noble Grape. “Steven was actually the first employee for Salvatore’s New York Pizza. He was my dad’s employee,” says Tony. “When I was away in Montreal I’d come back to visit and we’d hang out at family events and he always said he was interested in doing something with me and Sam, so when I finally moved back we decided it was the right time to do it.”

The restaurant is currently under construction in the old Good Food Emporium space on Windsor Street, with plans to open in May. While the Rinaldos will run the kitchen, Haynes is working on the wine portion of the bar program with another family friend, award-winning bartender Jenner Cormier, consulting on the cocktails. There will also be a half dozen taps from local craft breweries.

The main plan is for the Rinaldos to put their own spin on Italian American classics. “We definitely want people to feel really comfortable and at home here,” says Tony. “It’s food done the old school Italian way but using Italian American flavours, the essence of what was created in the New York area.” This means dishes like penne alla vodka, chicken parmesan and pizza. Pasta will all be made from scratch—cavatelli will be a house staple—and favourite sandwiches like the eggplant parm and meatball hero will also be on the menu.

“We have dishes that are inspired by recipes that have been passed down from my father, my grandmother and my great grandparents,” says Tony. “We have recipes from my grandfather, his sausage recipe, my great grandmother’s Sicilian olive salad. Not to say we’re going to put that on the menu, but we have a treasure trove of recipes that Sam and I are just kind of making our own.

“It’s nice to take those, take that history and make it our own,” he says. “We value where we came from.”

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Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chain-Yard Urban Cidery wants to be the apple of your eye

Halifax’s first cider-maker gets ready to open on Agricola.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2017 at 4:00 AM

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The co-owners of a Grape Escapes wine tours are crushing another kind of fruit and "taking advantage of the cider boom:" Mike Lim and Susan Downey Lim announced last summer they'd be teaming up with Brian Kelly to open Chain-Yard Urban Cidery at 2606 Agricola Street (the former FRED. location). And now they're just about ready to pour it up.

"Susan and I have basically been looking to get into the production side since we started Grape Escapes and Taste Halifax. It's always been a goal of ours," says Lim. "We're big cider fans."

The team had its eyes on the Agricola building when they found out it was for sale. The one-time salon-cafe hybrid was ideal: One side could be for production, while the other could be the tap room.

"When we looked into it, we weren't able to secure the financing for both the startup and the purchase of the building," says Lim. They turned to Pete Luckett for help, inviting him to collaborate. Luckett ended up buying the building and is now the landlord for the business.

"He's been a good mentor and we've gone to him with quite a few questions during the startup."

It's "an eye-opening experience" for the rest of the team to see the cider maker Jay Hildybrant go through the process. They're learning about "what apples go with what blends, and the amount of apples that we have to chose from in Nova Scotia," says Lim.

Right now, the first batch of cider is finishing up, with another run to immediately follow. The tap room is getting its final touches, and the cidery is expected to open in mid- to late April.


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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Water and Bone brings local flare to ramen

Oodles of noodles coming to Charles Street

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 4:53 PM

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Jamie MacAulay has always been a self-proclaimed “ramen nerd.” When a space on Charles Street became available, it only made sense for him to look into opening his own noodle bar. “It’s a really appealing comfort food,” says MacAulay. “It hits all the notes, you know—comforting, warm broth, a nice piece of braised pork and egg in your soup, noodles.”

MacAulay’s first experiences in the food industry involved washing dishes rather than cooking. He’d originally planned on a career in graphic design—but when that didn’t work out, he shifted gears and put his focus back on food.

“Once I decided that, I sort of jumped in with both feet,” says MacAulay, who spent six years doing an apprenticeship in Whistler. These days, MacAulay’s teamed up with his wife Shannon Mcmullin along with friends Stephen John MacLean and Craig Nickerson to open Water and Bone at 5687 Charles Street, the former home of Chi Bistro and Tess.

MacAulay stresses they’re not trying to “create a Japanese ramen experience,” but they want to pay respect to the tradition and craft while having fun with appetizers and entrees. The menu will feature dishes made from local and seasonal ingredients, particularly when it comes to the base of the soup. Instead of toasted nori, for instance, they’re using dulse.

“We’re not going to use imported seaweed from Japan, ’cause why bother? It washes up in my backyard,” MacAulay says, laughing. He’s not literally serving the seaweed from his backyard, but you get the point. Pork and chicken from local farms and homemade noodles are also part of the spread.

“We really want to stick with local, but respect the tradition,” he says. MacAulay doesn’t have a firm opening date just yet, but he aims to have Water and Bone open in the next two weeks.

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The Argyle gets nostalgic with Vinyl Retro Dance Lounge

Get ready for Throwback Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays

Posted By on Wed, Feb 1, 2017 at 3:29 PM

VIA FACEBOOK
  • via Facebook

Start polishing your dancing shoes (er, platform sneakers?), The Argyle Grill & Bar's (1575 Argyle Street) plan to convert its basement into a new weekend dance party.

The restaurant/bar's mostly unused downstairs space will be re-vamped to become Vinyl Retro Dance Lounge, a concept The Argyle's parent company Urban Sparq Hospitality has tried—with much success—in other Canadian cities like Vancouver, Calgary and Edmonton. Because who doesn't want to relive the hits and misses Much Music countdown from yesteryear?

Urban Sparq's Dan Crerar says Vinyl will crank '90s and 2000s mashups over an LED dancefloor Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, offer bottle service and boast a "retro feel" with lots of mirrors, big booths and music paraphernalia.

"Its nostalgia," says Crerar of the current '90s comeback. "It’s like old school video games are cool again. Everything old is cool again."

Vinyl Retro Dance Lounge aims to open February 16.

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Tin Pan Alley takes it inside

From food truck to food court, 2017 sees Dutch frites in Scotia Square Mall

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 1:09 AM

A tasty Tin Pan cone - MEGHAN TANSEY WHITTON
  • A tasty Tin Pan cone
  • Meghan Tansey Whitton
This winter, beloved frite-slinging food truck Tin Pan Alley is getting a permanent address—no generators required—and opening up shop in Scotia Square Mall’s ever-expanding food court.

“This past fall we started looking at a couple of bricks-and mortar-places, and it snowballed from there. We saw places all over,” says Karl Warme who will run the new Tin Pan restaurant with his wife, Jill Warme, adding that moving indoors has been a longtime goal for them. “Our background is in restaurants—Jill and I met working at Splendido in Toronto.”

Settling into the currently under-renovations Barrington-side of the court, the stationary restaurant will look a lot like the mobile one—featuring a facade of the truck—and will continue dishing out favourites like its mayo-topped Dutch frites and steak frites. “We’ll also be able to do some things we weren’t able to do on the truck, like a daily special like a taco Tuesday or fish Friday,” says Warme.

As for the truck, he says that opening a sister location doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll be off the roads but for now, it’s a strong “We’ll see.” The new, indoor Alley is currently under construction, and aims to be open for mid-February.

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mappatura Bistro is coming to Spring Garden

Get ready to ciao down with chef Terry Vassallo

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 12:13 PM

MARGOT DURLING
  • Margot Durling

Terry Vassallo and Simone Mombourquette are humble veterans in Nova Scotia’s restaurant scene, but after paying their dues—making their marks on locally loved spots like Lunenburg’s Trattoria Della Nonna and Cafe Chianti— the pair are fulfilling a dream and opening their own spot. “If it’s a poker game, we’re all in,” says Vassallo, with a giddy excitement in his voice.

Mappatura Bistro will debut in early November, making its home in 1,600 square feet, or half, of the former Saege location (5883 Spring Garden Road), which has been empty since it closed in 2015.

“We thought about what brought the two of us here, and when you put it all down and brainstormed it looked like a trail, a map,” says Vassallo of the Breakhouse-designed, Italian-inspired, neighbourhood restaurant’s name. “When we were in Italy our best eating experiences happened when we actually got lost and ended up in neighbourhoods and small osterias, enotecas and trattorias.”

With that welcoming, off-the-beaten track atmosphere in mind, Mappatura aims to combine chef Vassallo’s focus on local ingredients and approachable food (and price point) with Mombourquette’s sommelier skills undying commitment to rock solid hospitality. The menu will feature seasonally driven dishes, fresh pastas and—because you can’t open in the former Saege and not do weekend brunch—an Italian brunch.

“I’ve always been kind of juggling these two worlds,” says Vassallo, of his love of Italian cuisine, and his French training. “Impeccable technique and the Italian way of relying of really good ingredients. So, we’ll be putting ingredients in the forefront and backing them up with honest technique.” He says it’ll be a bit of a departure from his work at Cafe Chianti, but will stay true to his influences.

“We don’t feel like we’re doing this on our own,” he says. “Because we’re doing it with all these farmers, oyster farmers and seafood purveyors.”

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Cortado Tasting Room's coming soon

A taste of coffee culture for Bedford West

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 5:54 PM

VIA FACEBOOK
  • via Facebook

Alex Lee loves a good cortado. To make it right, the seemingly simple drink— two ounces of espresso and two ounces of milk— requires precision pouring. “If you mess up on any variables the drink turns really bad really fast—every single aspect has to be perfect,” he says.

That attention-to-detail is something Lee and his business partner Joe Dunford hope to capture and showcase their coming soon cafe, Cortado Tasting Room (50 Gary Martin Drive, across from the BMO Centre)—an idea dreamt up after the pair met and were wooed by java while working at Starbucks.

“I learned more about coffee and realized what I was taught was not the best thing,” says Lee, who's since been researching the ins and outs of the drink—from beans to barista.

And he hopes that will shine in Cortado’s tasting room, single serve bar and expertly trained staff. Slated to open in early September, the cafe will use Java Blend beans (as well as the wisdom Java Blend’s owner Jim Dikaios has imparted on Lee and Dunford) and a variety of brewing methods, from Aeropress to French press to siphon.

“We don’t want to be just another cafe,” says Lee, “we want to really say something.”

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Thursday, June 30, 2016

Food Wolf adds a new truck to its pack

The beloved food truck serves from both Timber Lounge, and a new truck, this summer

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 12:16 AM

The senior Food Wolf now lives at the Timber Lounge - PHOTO BY LENNY MULLINS
  • The senior Food Wolf now lives at the Timber Lounge
  • photo by Lenny Mullins

If you’ve been howling at the moon, hoping for the Food Wolf’s answer, here it is. After setting up a permanent, semi-retirement home at the Timber Lounge (2712 Agricola Street), serving up street eats to the bar’s axe throwers, Halifax’s food truck pioneer is welcoming a second vehicle to its pack.

“We went to Taiwan and what we discovered was an amazing culinary source of inspiration,” says truck co-owner Natalie Chavarie. “Taiwan is all about three things: Hot springs, night markets and bubble tea. It’s a super-chill society.” She and her partner Virgil Muir returned hungry to experiment, inspired by the noodle dishes they’d indulged in while travelling and a connection with a local Chinese noodle producer. “We thought, let’s make a menu that really resonates with people. Noodles are a kind of universal language.”

Through Chavarie's connection with the food truck association in Hamilton, Ontario, opportunity knocked when a bright purple truck—the former nomadic home of Nudulz, a noodle truck with a hilarious name—came up for grabs. “It was at the same time Food Wolf was gearing up for this season and recognizing the deficiencies of the truck. The Timber Lounge is good for the old truck, but it wasn’t fulfilling the nature of our business—to food truck, to be mobile,” says Chavarie.

Now, they can get the best of both worlds. Food Wolf’s new colourful partner in crime (which is 30 years its junior, with a new kitchen) will hit up the streets of Halifax and special events—starting next weekend at Gridlock Festival—serving up a noodle-centric menu, from Muir and his brother Judd Muir. The original truck and its ever-evolving menu will continue to feed the brand new, beer-slinging patio at Timber Lounge. “Thats why we’re a good food truck,” says Chavarie. “We’re nimble and versatile.”

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Agora opens to Agricola in July

A new Mediterranean restaurant and bistro aims to bring people together over healthy eats

Posted By on Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 2:03 PM

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Kubi Gonul wants his new bistro/cafe to be a gathering place for Agricola Street's residents and passersby. The bright red-and-blue 
Agora—which will open in the former Orphan Books at 2394 Agricola Street in July— isn’t Gonul’s first foray in the Halifax restaurant industry: He was once the owner of downtown favourite Turkish Delight (5680 Spring Garden Road).

But this time around he’s focussing on the cuisine of Turkey’s Aegean region—where fresh veggies, herbs and olive oil are main players and quality wins over quantity every time. Agora—named for the Hellenic word referencing a place of assembly for artistic, political and spiritual conversation—aims to be a quiet-but-social spot for people to catch up, study and indulge in healthy dishes. And it will boast a sunny backyard terrace, which never hurts.

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Thursday, June 9, 2016

Robie Street Station brings you El Chino Snack Bar

An evening companion to the north end breakfast and lunch joint

Posted By on Thu, Jun 9, 2016 at 10:01 AM

The soon-to-be El Chino - VIA FACEBOOK
  • The soon-to-be El Chino
  • via Facebook

Kaleigh Burns and Heman Lee call it a passion project. The duo behind breakfast and lunch hangout Robie Street Station (2394 Robie Street) are gearing up to bring something new to the restaurant scene, a tiny companion to the diner called El Chino Snack Bar.

"It's a Chinese/Mexican snack bar. We’ll do street food, basically, and keep it pretty traditional," says Burns of the new resto, which will take over the small former cafe space directly next door to Robie Street Station. "We have no intention of doing anything fusion, it’ll either be Mexican or it'll be Chinese."

El Chino will be a cozy 20-seater, open from 5pm to 1am Thursday through Monday, operating on an opposite schedule to its sister restaurant. "It's just what we love," say Burns, adding that they'll serve up lots of dumplings and tacos— items that have been in popular demand since the Station's annual Cinco de Mayo and Chinese New Year special menus—and one hell of a tequila menu. She hopes the snack bar will be able to cater to the north end food industry crowd.

"It's been something we wanted to do for a wee while now and it was finally time to pull the trigger," she says. "I’m really excited to be able to offer it to the neighbourhood. I love this place and can’t wait to bring it to them." Burns aims to have El Chino open in about two weeks.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Photos of Halifax's new European-inspired restaurant Eliot & Vine

Johanna Eliot's new venture on Clifton and Cunard opens Tuesday night

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2016 at 6:27 PM

Tonight, Halifax's new European-inspired restaurant Eliot & Vine opens at 2035 Clifton Street after a champagne opening last night, where photographers Andrew Donovan and Crissie Brenton (Phototype) snapped a few sneak-peek photos of the 55-seat venture by film producer Johanna Eliot. The gorgeous resto offers exquisite design, reminiscent of Eliot's childhood in Greece, luxurious ever-changing menus by executive chef Jason Townes, wines from around the world and Dartmouth's new Nine Locks brew on tap. Reservations and walk-ins are welcome.


A bright, open-concept kitchen in the resto's rear - PHOTOTYPE
  • A bright, open-concept kitchen in the resto's rear
  • Phototype
The basil pistachio-crusted lamb was incredible - PHOTOTYPE
  • The basil pistachio-crusted lamb was incredible
  • Phototype
Truffle fries - PHOTOTYPE
  • Truffle fries
  • Phototype
Chicken lollipops (honey, roasted garlic, parmesan) - PHOTOTYPE
  • Chicken lollipops (honey, roasted garlic, parmesan)
  • Phototype
A marble bar complements the seating and lighting - PHOTOTYPE
  • A marble bar complements the seating and lighting
  • Phototype
PHOTOTYPE
  • Phototype
Inspired by Greece, designed by Breakhouse - PHOTOTYPE
  • Inspired by Greece, designed by Breakhouse
  • Phototype
The space features wide south and west-facing windows - PHOTOTYPE
  • The space features wide south and west-facing windows
  • Phototype
A cozy side-room features original panels by artist Jean Bradbury - PHOTOTYPE
  • A cozy side-room features original panels by artist Jean Bradbury
  • Phototype
PHOTOTYPE
  • Phototype

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Thursday, April 14, 2016

Little Oak hits the waterfront this summer

Agricola Street Brasserie’s newborn sibling is on the scene

Posted By on Thu, Apr 14, 2016 at 10:02 AM

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Meet the waterfront’s newest bar, Little Oak. Owners of Agricola Street Brasserie Michael Hase, Rachel Knox and Ludovic Eveno decided to start it up about a year ago, and they’re jazzed to be opening it’s doors at Bishop's Landing this summer.

Hase describes the bar’s 27-seater size as “a footprint that would fit in the Brasserie’s kitchen” – thus the ‘little’ in the name. Oak comes from the use of barrels in the process of winemaking and distilling, tying into the bar’s specialization in high quality wines and spirits. The drink menu, selected by manager Nicole Raufeisen, will combine local features with exotic imports (some that aren’t available at the NSLC).

Hase hopes the bar will be ready to open in June, just in time for the waterfront’s buzzing tourist season.

And there’s more. Little Oak will have a small menu designed by chef Ludovic Eveno and Brasserie chef Ben Ridgley. It's in the process of taste testing, so we couldn’t snag any sneak peek details.

Hase prefers to keep the bar’s interior design a secret, for now, but if the suspense is killing you, check Little Oak's Facebook page for future updates.

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In Print This Week

Vol 27, No 17
September 19, 2019

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