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Thursday, September 20, 2007

A world without...One World

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2007 at 10:47 AM

The pots, food supplies and coffee-makers have all been carted out and the fridge is gone, too. As reported last week in Scene and Heard, the One World Cafe—an adored north end all-ages venue and community gathering-place—is officially closed. Owner Ken Pilkey's dad, Dennis, locked the cafe's door on Sept. 12. Dennis has spent the last week cleaning the cafe out, and plans to finish sometime this week The cafe's abrupt closing, which shocked many people, became an unfortunate necessity following several earnest attempts on the part of the Pilkeys to keep the heavily-in-debt cafe open and running. Ken, who's sick, signed bankruptcy papers on Sept. 10, a step taken to enable the Pilkeys to sell the cafe to One World manager Siobhan Murphy and business partner, Josh Herbin, liability-free. The planned sale fell through, which put the responsibility for the cafe in the hands of a bankruptcy trustee, who needed the cafe to be locked before he could file the bankruptcy papers and respond to the cafe's creditors. Ken first opened the cafe in April 2005. "It's a concept he's had for years, and it was a dream on his part," says Dennis. "I think that the difference that the cafe made was truly a wonderful community experience. And I really sincerely regret that it was not possible to carry on...But it just wasn't." The space is available to rent starting in October:Landlord Dimo Georgakakos (who also owns Gus' Pub) plans to list the cafe on the rental market within the next few days.

Re-zoning to the rescue

After spending months in bureaucratically-induced limbo, the Just Us Cafe at 5896 Spring Garden is now fully renovated, and ready to serve you both food and Fair Trade organic specialty coffees. The cafe has been open in a limited capacity during its renovations, serving coffee- and tea-to-go in exchange for donations to Oxfam and Amnesty International. Meanwhile, a new ramp, patio and upstairs balcony were constructed (from sustainably harvested timber, natch), windows were added to the front of the cafe, and a wall was knocked out to create more back-counter space. "We were sort of waiting for all the bureaucratic and physical pieces of our building to fall into place," says Ned Zimmerman, the cafe's manager. The cafe now serves baked goods, soups, and samosas, and also has a brand-new espresso machine that's "working around the clock." Most importantly, it's the perfect place to cozy up with a book (or an economics text). "I've had a few people say to me it's just a very comfortable atmosphere," says Zimmerman. Comfortable and socially responsible. Ta-dow! Call Just Us at 423-0856.

Men in Gucci

Park Lane shop Men at Large is looking to branch out. As its name suggests, the shop caters primarily for plus-sized men—carrying large-sized clothes, underwear and socks from lines such as Chaps, Stanfield's and McGregor. While the store plans to keep its XL-friendly name (and its large-size duds), it's currently in the process of bringing in new clothing lines and accessories from European fashion heavyweights such as Gucci, Prada and Armani. The store will be trying to bring in the fashions in plus-sizes whenever possible, but the new clothes will mostly be available in smaller sizes. "We have a lot of people that come in for regular sizing," explains manager John Balan. The store has also recently hired fashion and marketing consultant Mortimer Cordero, who has largely been responsible for bringing in the store's fancy new offerings. While Men at Large is now catering to two very different markets, Balan thinks that all the store's new products will fit well together and complement each other. Watch out for the new inventory coming in during the next couple of weeks. You can also promote fair trade as you spend in the store since Cordero is endeavouring to bring in clothes which have been made by fairly compensated European clothing workers. He's also going to donate part of his salary to Amnesty International, to help promote humane working conditions worldwide. Contact the shop at 404-3714.

On the waterfront

Pizzeria a Mano, the much-anticipated new pizzeria from well-known Halifax restaurant moguls Maurizio and Stephanie Bertossi opened on Monday, at 1477 Lower Water Street (inside Bishop's Landing). The Bertossis also own Il Mercato, Mosaic and Bish. The family-friendly pizzeria plans to offer customers hand-made, oven-baked "za, yummy pastas and delicious desserts, plus an extensive wine list, all in an atmosphere similar to one you'd find in an authentic Italian pizzeria. And, of course, you can't beat that Harbour view. Give the restaurant a ring at 423-6266.

Late-night let-down

Rumour has it that the late-night Grafton haunt The Candy Apple Cereal Bar and 24-Hour Restaurant has closed. For years, the restaurant space was home to beloved 24-hour Halifax eatery The Apple Barrel which closed in February and the space renovated. There's no word yet regarding why the restaurant's closing (although, a month ago, the restaurant pared back its hours, citing dropping sales). One thing's for certain: Those wonderful post-bar bowls of Froot Loops just won't taste the same at home.

Do you own a shop? I don’t, but I’d love to talk about yours. Drop me a line at shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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