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Thursday, March 30, 2006

Rent-fritoes

Megan Wennberg browses for business news.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 30, 2006 at 12:09 PM

Cafe Vienna at 2198 Windsor closed March 20. A notice posted on the locked door explains that the goods and chattels on the premises have been distrained by the landlord Maria Zelios for the sum of $6959.80, due to the tenants’ failure to pay rent. An email sent to Shop Talk from Lolita Cataford and Shane McCartney bids Vienna’s loyal customers farewell: “Cafe Vienna is now out of business unfortunately. We’d like to thank all are great customers we’re had over the years. Every last one of you were what made the Vienna a gem.”

Organics Inc

Great Ocean Natural Food Market at 6485 Quinpool officially changed its name last Friday to Planet Organic Market. Great Ocean was sold to Edmonton-based company Planet Organic in August, 2004. Asked about customer response to the name change, manager Jevens Matheson says, “I don’t think there’ll be any problem. People are pretty well accustomed to it now because a lot of our customers knew it was sold a year and a half ago.” Matheson says nothing has really changed under the new ownership, beyond an increase in buying power. “It’s really good for us because you can buy better as a group then you can as an individual,” says Matheson. “And we’ll continue to support all the local suppliers we can.” Planet Organic Market celebrates its new name this Saturday with an in-store party for customers.

Book Smarts

Frog Hollow Books in Park Lane Mall has changed hands. Heidi Hallett received ownership of the independent book shop from 18-year veteran Mary Jo Anderson on March 1. Both women are excited about the transition. “I shopped there for years, I always got great service, great recommendations and I was always a huge fan of the store,” says Hallett. “I was looking to open a store, and I was in the store chatting with Mary Jo about various business plans that I had on the go, and she said ‘Well gee, would you be interested in buying Frog Hollow?’ and I said ‘Of course I would, I’d love to have an independent bookstore in Halifax,’ and I’d thought about it many, many times but we didn’t really need another one in downtown Halifax.” Hallett says the store will mostly stay the same under her ownership, the only major change planned being a switch from Frog Hollow’s current hand-written card system to computerizing the store’s inventory. Anderson and Hallett will work together in-store for the next few weeks and through June, organizing Frog Hollow’s visiting author line-up of Margaret Atwood, Linda Little, Frank McCourt, Rohinton Mistry and Peter Robinson.

Bob’s Dinner Emporium

Bob and Lori’s Food Emporium on Gottingen will be open for dinner starting April 3. “We’re trying to take advantage of the people who can’t get here because they work nine to five,” says owner Bob Trenaman. The new hours will run from 9am-7pm Monday through Friday, with the kitchen closing at 6:30pm. Trenaman hopes to extend this by an hour in the coming weeks, and will be trying to work out staffing arrangements in the meantime. Trenaman also hopes to re-open on Saturdays for the summer, and is looking into serving beer and wine as well. The new dinner menu will include such lunch favourites as perogies and fish cakes, along with special evening entrees such as a daily curry, pastas, a meat dish or even “a special on brussel sprouts.” Bob and Lori’s will also move further into the retail food market.

More optionz on Gottingen

Mollyz Diner opens for brunch this Sunday at 2104 Gottingen below Menz Bar. “We felt that there was a real need here at this end of Gottingen Street,” says owner Doug Melanson. “There weren’t very many options for folks.” Melanson (who also owns Menz Bar and the Partz Department on the third floor) has been working like crazy to complete renovations, and looks forward to introducing Gottingen to the “many faces of Molly” over the next few weeks. Mollyz—named after the “unsinkable Molly Brown” from the Titanic (though Melanson is quick to point out “there’s no record of her ever being here on Gottingen”)—will operate as a diner (think pastas, burgers and fish ‘n’ chips), an afternoon coffee house, an upscale restaurant (featuring an a la carte menu on Friday and Saturdays from 6-10pm) and a women’s bar (Friday and Saturdays from 10pm-2am). “We’re keeping Molly very busy,” says Melanson, jokingly.

Cajun Connection

Chef Sam Jaggy, owner of Taj Mahal and Thai Chin, is hoping to transform Market Street into Halifax’s own corner of Bourbon Street. Jaggy’s restaurant The French Quarter opened in October at 1770 Market in the former home of the Velvet Olive. Jaggy is busy completing renovations, including the addition of neon lights outside and four distinct corners of Bourbon Street on the inside, including a daiquiri corner modelled after Bourbon Street’s “Mango Mango,” an “ACME” style oyster bar, a “Cafe du Monde” corner and a jazz band. The main restaurant area will be modelled after New Orleans’ Brennan’s restaurant. The menu features a range of Cajun and Creole dishes. Jaggy invites customers to “eat, drink and party on Bourbon Street in Halifax—it’s going to be exactly like you’re in New Orleans.”

Home or away, Email to: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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