Friday, October 13, 2017

Sober Island Brewing and ShipBuilders Cider launch collaboration

Cider and oyster stout join forces to create a unique flavour.

Posted By on Fri, Oct 13, 2017 at 3:59 PM

click image VIA FACEBOOK
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Sober Island Brewing Co. has teamed up with ShipBuilders Cider to collaborate on a medley of beer and cider, launching this weekend

Sober Island Brewing owner Rebecca Atkinson connected with Sean Sears of ShipBuilders through a Mashup Lab program, and Atkinson says Sears has since become a mentor of sorts. Now, they’re finally launching a product together.

“I think we were just looking for a blend that suited, I guess, our liking,” says Atkinson. “You don’t really know what you’re gonna get when you put together an oyster stout and a cider. I mean, oyster stout in itself is a pretty unique product and they all vary incredibly.”

The beer-cider hybrid is called Core and Keel, a combination of Shipbuilders’ cider and Sober Island’s oyster stout. The stout is accurate named, as it actually requires oysters as an ingredient—whole, fresh oysters are added during the last 10 minutes of the boil. Using that particular beer was Sears’ idea.

“I was just really interested in collaborating with them for a unique product and, I mean, it doesn’t really get more unique than that with our beer,” says Atkinson.

She notes that the blend “resembles more of a wine product than it would beer or cider,” so it will appeal to wine drinkers as much as beer aficionados.

“It was sort of rugged in the flavour but really velvety in the mouth feel, and with that light cider bubble it was very effervescent in the end.”

Core and Keel will be available at the launch party at Battery Park Beer Bar on Saturday.

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

EAT THIS: chocolatey mint Girl Guide cookies

Save us from ourselves and eat them all

Posted By on Thu, Oct 12, 2017 at 10:46 AM

Before pumpkin spice was a drinkable thing, there was the chocolatey mint Girl Guide cookie—a mark of fall as reliable as dried-out leaves crunching beneath your shoes and the excess of high-gloss decorative gourds. An addictive—especially autumn’s extra crushable minty disks, $5 a box— charitable snack for 90 years (22 for the chocolatey mint) the Girl Guide cookie remains the only good reason to answer an unsolicited knock at the door. But if you’ve seen nary a Guide, Brownie or even Spark in your neighbourhood, or have been outed as the jerk that keeps eating an entire row of the office’s communal cookie stash, there’s still hope for you to stock up for the winter and then lie to yourself that they’ll last that long.

This weekend marks National Cookie Day and thanks to Girl Guides of Canada, who are probably very used to people whining about where they can find some damn cookies, there’s the #cookiefinder. Yes, it has its own hashtag, and thank goodness. The regularly updated interactive map tracks stationary cookie sales near you, meaning easy access to the 13,000+ thin mints being sold across the province. And you won’t have to risk answering the door anymore.
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Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Tanner & Co. Brewing is now open in Chester

Stop, Tanner time.

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 3:41 PM


Last weekend Chester Basin had some drinks. Tanner & Co. Brewing—the latest addition to Nova Scotia’s craft beer scene—officially launched its little operation (50 Angus Hiltz Road) with Dan Tanner, a veteran in the food and drink world, at the helm. Tanner, who’s worked at White Point Beach Resort as a food and beverage manager and sommelier for the last 17 years, was turned onto the beer world thanks to his interest in wine.

“It was part of my goal for what I wanted to do for my career—I jumped into the CAPS [Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers] training, which lead to planting some vines to see how that goes,” says Tanner, who also studied culinary arts at NSCC. “The original intent was that we were gonna do a little winery. We learned its not all that fun to have a vineyard, it’s very frustrating with our climates, trying to be organized and keep everything alive, and you only get one shot a year. Brewing went more with my culinary arts side, you can mess with it and play with the recipe.”

After five-plus years of serious experimentation with brewing at home, he decided—thanks to lots of compliments about his beer— to go for it and launch Tanner & Co. Brewing. Starting with a focus on German beers, Tanner nailed down a rye beer and steam beer, but has expanded his list of creations to include a pale ale, a Belgian blonde and a lemon lavender saison. He says he’s happy to keep Tanner & Co. very micro for now, focusing first on getting kegs into restaurants and bars and filling growlers at the farmers’ market.

“For now I’m happy staying small, I love my day job,” says Tanner. “It’s a hobby slash dream slash it fits well with what I do already. We’ll see.”

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Compass Distillers points in the right direction

Agricola Street's tower is now open, debuting a distillery and tasting room

Posted By on Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 2:42 PM

Tower of boozy power - VIA @COMPASSDISTILLERS
  • Tower of boozy power
  • via @compassdistillers

Compass Distillers is here to lift your spirits—and perhaps offer you a place to crash as well.The cylindrical tower on Agricola took over the former site of Nauss Bicycle Shop (2533 Agricola Street). Now, it’s not only a distillery, but will soon be home to a cocktail bar and an Airbnb to boot. Compass is waiting on its full-fledged bar license, so for now it is just offering tastings. Gin, rum, whiskey and vodka are the current offerings.

“Anything that we sell in this building will have been made in this building. No exceptions,” says Graham Collins, the company president. He runs the show alongside his friends David LaGrand and Josh Judah.

Upon entering the building, the bar is the first thing you’ll see. Part of the production area is visible through a glass wall separating it from the seating area, and it’s also available for tours. The top two floors of the tower are furnished like a two-bedroom apartment. LaGrand, who is based out of Michigan, will stay there when he’s in town. While it’s not in use, anyone will be able to rent it.

“It’s a great area,” Collins says of Agricola. “It’s very vibrant. There’s tons of foot traffic, there are lots of interesting businesses.” Going forward, the hope is that Compass will eventually expand far beyond the north-end street. “We are literally looking to become a—at least North America if not a world-distributed product.”

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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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Friday, October 6, 2017

CHKN CHOP opens soon

The charcoal chicken rotisserie makes its debut mid-month

Posted By on Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 1:30 PM

A post shared by CHKNCHOP (@chknchop) on

Get ready for CHKN CHOP. The charcoal rotisserie chicken restaurant Jenna Mooers (EDNA) and Andrew Flood (Five by Five Renovations) announced in May is finally getting ready to open.

“We are getting very close,” says Mooers, adding that the restaurant will be open in mid-October. “To quote my mom Jane, who is asked on a daily basis when we will open, ‘They will be open as soon as they are ready, and not a moment sooner.’”

Mooers describes the spot as “a small, fun, casual dine-in and take-out joint.” It’s a family affair with she and Flood being joined by a cousin from Montreal— Patrick Cleve, who will act as the head chef —and her brother Patrick Harland, former co-owner of Soled Out Sneaker Boutique, on board.

“The rotisserie chicken-focused menu will highlight charcoal rotisserie birds, sandwiches, awesome fries, poutine, along with local craft brews and wine on tap,” says Mooers.

You can follow the adventure and get a sneak peek of the menu by following @CHKNCHOP.

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Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Drink this: Good Robot's Reclaiming My Time stout

Evelyn White and Good Robot team up to make a Communibrew inspired by Maxine Waters.

Posted By on Tue, Oct 3, 2017 at 2:18 PM

Evelyn White - JOANNE BEALY
  • Evelyn White
  • Joanne Bealy
First-time brewer, Evelyn White, is making a statement with her small batch of beer called Reclaiming My Time. White says she was inspired by congresswoman Maxine Waters and the now infamous viral video of her questioning treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin.

“For a Black woman to say ‘I'm reclaiming my time,’ I took it as a wonderful symbol of a voice speaking up and standing up for the oppressed,” says White. An African American journalist and author, she feels Waters’ confrontative and bold message is easily transferrable to Nova Scotia.

Since she moved to Halifax from BC back in 2012, White says her “jaw dropped to discover how long, painful and distressing the discrimination of the Black community has been” in Nova Scotia. White was a victim of this discrimination in her own neighbourhood in the west end of Halifax when she was street checked and stopped by two white female HRM officers.

With the recent UN report claiming that systemic racism in Nova Scotia persists, she believes that African Nova Scotians have long been reclaiming their time in various communities and organizations.

“Part of my mission when I'm involved with Good Robot or any mainstream white-owned or -dominated business, is I want to encourage them to look at the racial dynamics in their organization and make it more inclusive,” she says.

Kelly Costello, bartender, brewer and organizer of  Good Robot Brewing Company's new Communibrew program that encourages both experienced and first-time brewers to make beer, says she hopes to diversify the craft beer community.

“I hope that people see Evelyn, an African American, a woman and someone who is not young and say, ‘Oh okay it's not just white dudes with beards that do it.’”

White spent five hours in early September making the beer with Costello and wanted her to try and recreate her favourite stout beer called Mackeson, which White hasn’t tasted in years.

“It's very rich, it has lactose and it has a sweet creaminess to it. We also have roasty notes because of the chocolate malt we used,” says Costello.

Reclaiming My Time will be on tap at the Good Robot starting today.

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Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Pearl Jam shells out culinary creativity

Ring in Oyster Fest with local chefs, oyster producers and bartenders

Posted By on Thu, Sep 21, 2017 at 3:25 PM

Pearl Jam 2016 - RILEY SMITH
  • Pearl Jam 2016
  • Riley Smith

Back for its second year as an Oyster Festival kick-off is The Pearl Jam, an intimate, chef-focused event hosted by John Bil (owner of Toronto's Honest Weight) and oyster shucking champ Eamon Clark (of Rodney's Oyster House, also in TO) and presented by The Coast.

"It’s a chance to show off what's really happening right now in the kitchen," says Dennis Johnston, the event's executive chef. "It’s a good platform for that. And I think we need to push our bright stars whenever we can."

For this year's Pearl Jam (Thursday, September 28 on the Halifax Waterfront) he's gathered the culinary talents of Joe Martin (Stillwell), Jason Lynch (Le Caveau), Alex Jolin (The Barrington Steakhouse), Stephanie Oglivie (Brooklyn Warehouse), Tyson Watcher (Mother's Pizza) and Lachlan Culjak (Eliot & Vine), who'll each put their own spin on the shelled delicacy.

"Most people eat oysters raw, 
  • Riley Smith
but in a prepared situation it gives the chance for the chef to work their magic in accenting the flavours of the oyster that one wouldn’t normally recognize," says Johnston.

The roster of chefs will team up with local oyster producers and create dishes that'll be served to Pearl Jammers alongside a cocktail pairing from The Clever Barkeep crew.

"What Christine"—Orsekovich, The Coast's publisher— "has done is she's created has the best oyster festival in Canada. Any other festival in Canada becomes primarily a showcase for local restaurants because a lot of suppliers cant afford to travel two or three thousand kilometres with two or three thousand oysters in tow," says Johnston.

"We’re lucky that we live by the ocean and have an enormous oyster culture here."

Sound like it might be your jam? Get tickets here.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Memories of north end treasure The No Name Cafe

After 24 years of perfection, Gottingen Street cafeteria The Cafe is closing on Friday

Posted By , and on Wed, Sep 20, 2017 at 4:28 PM

The best there is - LENNY MULLINS
  • The best there is
  • Lenny Mullins

The No Name is inextricably linked to my Coast life. When the office moved from downtown to the north end—first across from the Marquee, then to its current location on Cunard—there was a staff-wide bemoaning of lunch options. The neighbourhood was not trendy then; there was Bob & Lori’s on Gottingen, and that was about it. Production manager Amy Campbell was the first to mention the The Cafe, and the one who dubbed it The No Name Cafe. Art director Kate O’Connor, who loves doling out nicknames, is the one who christened George “Uncle Jesse,” because he was Greek and looked like John Stamos. I would get my coffee there in the morning—shoutout to Van Houtte—and even though my travel mug was giant, Uncle Jesse only charged me a dollar. It’s always been crazy cheap, in fact, even since the neighbourhood exploded and lunch became $15. Every year Darlene would do a Christmas dinner option for the last few days before the building shut down. The clientele was probably the most diverse in the area. Uncle Jesse remembered all your ordering quirks, a rare thing in this town, and if you were short he let you sort it the next day. It was simple and hearty and full of value. It didn’t take 40 minutes or cost more than $10. It’s not a place everyone knew, but if you did, you loved it.

—Tara Thorne’s favourite meal was Thursday’s chicken parm. Backup: Bacon quiche.

It’s a very accepting group at the No Name. Everyone was treated with the same polite, efficient respect. The only thing that rivals this consistency is the taste, quality and reliability of the food, as you could set your watch to shepherd’s pie Tuesdays. Once, in my early 20s, I was going through what I’m sure was a highly annoying phase of trying to avoid garbage. So, when I went to take out places, I had to have my own container and utensils, and to their credit, the only place that would take my beat up Tupperware without even a second glance was the No Name. God bless their little cottons.

Nowadays—less so when I started to work in the neighbourhood—there are a lot of places to get some kind of a meal/baked good/coffee on Gottingen Street, but harder to find is a place that will give regular customers credit without hesitation. The No Name was generous and sympathetic to folks who were a few dollars short, or flat out forgot their wallets (hi and sorry).

The No Name was cozy—circular tables provided a comforting sense of privacy, and the chairs are unfancy but comfortable, a total neighbourhood rarity. Dear every restaurant and bar owner: An unfinished slab of wood isn’t that awesome to sit on. Other than a delightful wall mural, the decor is minimal—the simple and unchanging white board listing the sandwich selection and a small chalkboard listing the day’s soups is functional and easy to understand. Mostly, it’s a great backdrop for emotional conversations. I’ve cried many times in the No Name and have never once felt weird about it.

If you want to know how to do a breakfast sandwich right, just take a tip from the pages of the No Name cookbook. On its face, it sounds middling: Toasted, buttered bagel, microwaved egg and bacon, processed cheese. However, it’s a real sum-of-its-parts scenario. You won’t get a dry, lukewarm product here. It’s greasy, it’s filling, it’s piping hot, and it will beat the hangover or morning sickness right out of you, trust me.

—Stephanie Johns’ favourite meal is the breakfast sandwich (on a sesame bagel, with bacon), backup is the shepherd’s pie and let’s be honest—a giant pile of those potatoes.

Comfort is probably the best word to sum up The Cafe. It was a place that didn’t care if it was Cool or if its dishes were photogenic, it used a microwave and styrofoam with no remorse and never judged if you ordered a side of potatoes with your already potato-y shepherd’s pie.

You could remain guilt-free while treating yourself to a lunch combo, coffee, dessert and maybe chips the day before payday because you knew it wouldn’t, couldn’t cost more than $7. And it was always cool to sit around (bitching, moaning, loitering)  long after you’d finished eating because no one gave a shit who you were or what you were doing. The Cafe made sure its own were always comfortable too, keeping one VIP table Reserved in perpetuity for staff meals and breaks.

George always sort of smirked saucily when he asked, like clockwork, “Would you like a dinner roll with that?” because he knew that, of course you wanted that Saran Wrapped white roll and little cup of butter —even if you were just saving it for a 3pm snack.

And you were totally OK with that.

—Allison Saunders would kill for some shepherd’s pie right now


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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sackville's Chef's Menu has closed

Posted By on Tue, Sep 19, 2017 at 2:28 PM

Goodbye pulled pork
  • Goodbye pulled pork

Repeat winner in our Best of Halifax Readers' Choice Awards for Best Sackville Restaurant has closed its doors after six-plus years in business. Chef's Menu (518 Sackville Drive)—which served up chef Derrick Giffin's homey comfort food from an unassuming strip mall—took to its website to share news of the closure.

Read Melissa Buote's 2012 review of the restaurant here.
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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Ace Burger is closing its Gus' Pub location

Don't freak out, it'll live on in Dartmouth

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 8:17 AM

  • Riley Smith

“It was always meant to be burgers and beer,” says Ace Burger Co.’s Leo Christakos. “Really what we wanted to do was something simple and really different from what we were doing at Brooklyn Warehouse. And it all worked.”

It's true. Wednesday, September 27 will be the last day you can get an Ace burger on the Halifax side of the bridge. After five years of flipping patties for the masses from north end watering hole Gus’ Pub (2605 Agricola Street), the popular restaurant will call Battery Park Beerbar & Eatery (62 Ocherloney Street) its flagship location and home base. But this closure isn't a case of slow business or a landlord dispute, it's just an opportunity for change.

“Our commitment with Dimo [Georgakakos] at Gus’ had always been year-to-year, and the project was really meant to be a one to three year project. It far exceeded our expectations,” says Christakos, who launched the diner-style, no-frills, local-focused burger joint with his son (and co-owner at both Brooklyn Warehouse and Battery Park) George in summer 2012, after a successful pop-up during Open City.

“It does come down to just setting priorities over the last little bit of time, and realizing there’s just only so much you can do,” says Christakos of the reasoning for re-focusing Ace’s efforts in Dartmouth. “One of the things I’ve come to realize is that since 2014, when we opened at Bearly’s, we haven’t stopped.”

The Christakos’ closed the Bearly’s location of Ace Burger in summer 2015 as they geared up for launch of Battery Park, which opened alongside North Brewing Co. the following December. Battery Park went on to host a handful of burger pop-ups alongside its own menu before finally bringing Ace to Dartmouth permanently in April, when it started serving burgers for lunch seven days a week.

“The original idea for Battery Park with Peter Burbridge, the owner of North Brewing, his idea when he pitched it was Ace Burger and North together over in Dartmouth— which made sense, but we took it in a different direction. We’re pulling it back to what the original idea was," says Christakos, adding that the closure of the Agricola's Ace will make way for a menu shift over at Battery Park, where chef Andrew Prince leads the kitchen.

“We’ll be moving it further towards an Ace, diner concept—almost what we were doing over at Bearly’s—so there will be a dinner menu, but it’ll feature more of an Ace-quality than a finer dining experience,” says Christakos. “It just goes hand-in-hand with the whole beer bar concept, too.”
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Freshen up at FRESHFest

The Halifax Central Library wants to feed you and teach you.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 7, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Participating vendor FOUND making forgotten food smoothies - HALIFAX PUBLIC LIBRARIES
  • Participating vendor FOUND making forgotten food smoothies
  • Halifax Public Libraries

Sunday Sept. 10, 12-4pm
Halifax Central Library
5440 Spring Garden Road

Karen Dahl feels libraries have a role to play when it comes to supporting food education, and the Halifax Central Library is embracing that role.

“Connecting people to resources is sort of a fundamental piece of what libraries can do,” says Dahl, the manager of Program Development at Halifax Public Libraries. She’s also one of the organizers for FRESHFest, an event of drool-inducing activities and focused on Food Resources Everyone Should Have. It’s part of the libraries’ Tastes Like Home program series, which aims to celebrate Nova Scotia’s food culture.

“We’re really looking at stories and recipes from founding cultures in Nova Scotia, and then we’re also exploring the diversity of today’s cuisine: Things that newcomers have brought to the region.”

Tastes Like Home has workshopped various aspects of “culinary literacy,” including “basic kitchen survival” for young people and “lost arts” such as preserving and pickling. FRESHFest is offering knowledge about community gardens, old-timey food production methods and even beekeeping. Taste of Nova Scotia, a province-wide food marketing company, will part the culinary stage in Paul O’Regan Hall, where local chefs and producers will show off their skills and offer some sampling.

“I think really anything that’s talking about the local food community here in Nova Scotia is something that we love being involved in,” says Emily Haynes, Taste of Nova Scotia’s executive director. “We were really excited to have an opportunity to just bring more awareness to out membership and to the broader local food industry.”

On top of tasting, FRESHFest will serve as a community forum to discuss issues such as food access, health and sustainability.

“So, Food Resources Everyone Should Have—I think we’re speaking about food justice but we’re also saying, ‘Everybody eats,” says Dahl. “Everybody needs to know what’s available locally and everybody needs to have an opportunity to cook and taste and try.”

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Taste of Nova Scotia is hungry for your nominations

Posted By on Fri, Aug 25, 2017 at 12:35 PM

  • Sam Kean

It's probably obvious to you by now that we're fans of voting, nominating and giving out awards around here. But today, we're interrupting our usual Best of Halifax programming to remind you that Taste of Nova Scotia's annual celebration of province-wide culinary greatness is looking for your nominations.

It's the 10th year that Taste of Nova Scotia has given out awards to the top-picks from its 180 members, this year handing out hardware for Restaurant of the Year, Producer of the Year, Server of the Year, Product of the Year and Culinary Ambassador of the Year. You can have your say with a couple of clicks here, nominations close next Thursday, August 31.

For a taste of some of  the type of inspiring culinary innovators ToNS gives props to, check out this profile of last year's Producer of the Year, Bay Enterprises.

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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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In Print This Week

Vol 25, No 21
October 19, 2017

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