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Thursday, October 13, 2005

In the loop

T.C. Demaresq browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2005 at 9:25 AM

The Loop, a new knitting and needlework cafe, workshop space and retail store is opening in the former space of the Apollo Sauna Bath Club at 1547 Barrington, next door to The Mud Room. The Loop will sell yarn, embroidery supplies, crochet supplies and knitting supplies. “It’s going to be totally mad with colour,” says co-owner Mimi Fautley. “The yarn is so colourful—like maybe competing with the Freak Lunchbox for colour. It’s beautiful.” The Loop will also offer workshops for various levels of knitters. “If you want to learn to knit or crochet you can do it here,” says Fautley. “It’s totally meant to be an open, unintimidating space full of possibilities for people.” The workshops will be project oriented—make a hat or scarf—and will be taught by Fautley and The Loop’s other two owners, Cathy Merriman and Bill Whitman. As for the cafe, The Loop will have a number of tables serviced by The Mud Room so people can work on projects in the store and stitching groups will have a place to meet. “We’re really excited about it,” says Fautley. “It’s an interesting concept in retail in that it’s really geared towards growing it’s own market—teaching people to do things, teaching people to make beautiful things themselves as an alternative to going to the mall and buying it.” The Loop is set to open in mid-November.

A taste of sunshine

Sisters of the Caribbean at 269 Windmill in Dartmouth will be closing their walk-in location for the winter, but “Da Sistas” wanted to let everyone know they’re still offering cooking classes, private lunch or dinner parties, pick-up orders and catering services. The sisters will also be working the Halifax Farmers’ Market every Saturday, so you can “enjoy a taste of the Caribbean” before stocking up on local produce.

Breaking down the wall

“From its humble beginnings as a solution for those waiting for their laundry, Cafe Vienna is pleased to announce that it is expanding its dining space,” writes Vienna business partner Jeremy Lutes. The Vienna has expanded to include the space formerly occupied by Nick’s Hair Salon, at the corner of Windsor and Duncan streets. The new room is located below the cafe’s current location, and will offer the same blend of Mediterranean, Mexican and Canadian food that Haligonians have been lapping up for the past six years. The new space raises Vienna’s seating capacity from 23 to 68, allowing it to better serve its loyal clientele. “We are very excited about the new space and the support from the community,” says Lutes. “And we were careful not to disturb what our regulars like about the location.” Cafe Vienna will celebrate the grand opening of its new space this weekend.

New Moon, No Tunes

Blue Moon Bistro is opening the former Showtunes space at Club NRG, 2215 Gottingen. Business partners Christopher Robinson and John Dickinson took over the space three weeks ago. “The biggest thing now is to get our own decor and the style that we want in the restaurant,” says Robinson. As for the menu, Blue Moon (a sister company of In Good Company catering) will serve a range of “gourmet comfort soul food.” “It’s my personal twist on taking food we grew up with,” say Robinson, “like the grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, and taking it to the next level—making it a tomato Parmesan soup with grilled cheese on sourdough bread with Montreal style bacon and smoked Gouda.” Robinson is a Cordon Bleu-trained chef who’s hoping to bring some big-city flair to the Gottingen scene. Blue Moon will be open daily for lunch and dinner, with a late-night munchies menu until close.

Not so plain

jane’s on the common is expanding its kitchen into the space vacated by Wilkie’s Wonderful World of Comics when it moved to Gottingen. “I’ve taken over the lease,” says owner Jane Wright, “but we’re still working on what we’re going to do there.” Wright has no immediate plans to expand the restaurant seating area, but construction to enlarge the kitchen has already begun. “We need a bigger fridge,” says Wright. “We’ve got a really tiny kitchen here right now, and we cook a lot of food.” Wright also hopes the larger kitchen will allow jane’s to dabble in the world of workspace lunch catering, though she says it will be a few months before that starts up. “We can only work in the morning,” says Wright. “When we open at 11am we’ve got to stop banging.”

Hat’s off

Jane (“no relation to the premier”) Hamm is opening a new boutique at 45 Portland in Dartmouth. Flirt Boutique is scheduled to open this weekend, and will feature a number of specialty items, most notably hats. “I have over 250 hats,” says Hamm. “Hats gave me the idea to do it, and then with the hats came cocktail dresses and purses and jewellery.” Flirt Boutique will be one of a kind in Dartmouth, and the first of its kind since Mim’s closed years ago. “There’s nothing in Dartmouth even close to it,” says Hamm. “I’m the only real hat store in the Halifax area.” Flirt Boutique will sell everything “from warm hats to $300 cocktail hats.”

Send us business hat tricks to: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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