Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Holey shit, it’s a doughnut crawl

Nine local bakeries encourage a day of delicacy

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 6:37 PM


For many, National Doughnut Day will just be any other day, but this year nine cafes and bakeries in Halifax are hoping it will be busier than usual. The first Halifax Doughnut Crawl will start and end on June 7, to coincide with and celebrate the legacy of deep-fried dough covered in icing. Organized by Scanway Catering and Grafton Street Cafe (1567 Grafton Street) the hope is to get more people out and about to their favourite local spot and to "highlight the growing foodie culture in Halifax."

Die-hard apple fritter and Dutchie purists may feel like there is no need to reinvent the wheel, but hate it or love it, doughnuts have now become experiments in design and flavour combinations. Although it is safe to say that Tim Hortons enjoys its steady dynasty, doughnuts are gaining popularity with smaller coffee shops, becoming more Instagrammable as the topping combinations get more artistic.

All participating businesses will try to outdo each other via the creation of one specialty doughnut for the crawl—and half of the proceeds from the sales of these speciality doughnuts will be donated to the Phoenix House.

Competitive local foodies know the drill: There will be a passport and stamps to be collected. One location, one doughnut, one stamp. The most ambitious and adventurous of stomachs who can knock off each location, and collect all nine stamps will be entered to win a $500 goodie bag. Completed passports can be handed in to the Grafton Street Cafe by June 10 for the draw. For a full list of participating spots (from Rinaldo's to LF Bakery) find the event on Facebook.

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Evelyn Chick's shaking up the cocktail culture

The Toronto bar-star says a healthy food and beverage scene starts with communication.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 4:00 PM

“Uplifting the female bartending community is something I didn’t know I was doing,” says Chick. - SUBMITTED
  • “Uplifting the female bartending community is something I didn’t know I was doing,” says Chick.

Drink Atlantic

"Even if you're the best bartender in the world, if you're a shitty human, no one wants to sit at your bar," says Evelyn Chick, frankly, over the phone from Toronto. The decorated bartender and boss behind Pretty Ugly (a "chill Parkdale gem" that was recently named number four on Canada's 100 Best Bars list) is gearing up to head to Halifax for Drink Atlantic (presented by The Coast, if you didn't know) where she'll share her expertise at industry seminars on cooperative, safe workplaces and booze-less cocktails.

From the drinks she makes to the atmosphere she fosters, Chick's end goal is making sure every person in her bar feels supported, comfortable and heard. ("We have a ton of female clientele come in to Pretty Ugly alone because they feel safe in that space," she says.) A groundbreaker, boundary-pusher and inspired leader, her creativity behind the bar goes well beyond flavour profiles and garnish. Take Pretty Ugly's placebo cocktail menu—a much better name for a mocktail—for instance.

"It all stems from wanting to make the space really inclusive. A lot of bars are missing that, so we created a menu that's not only for people for who are nerdy about cocktails but anyone who comes in," says Chick, who plays with texture and complexity to create non-alcoholic drinks with depth. "Why should someone who isn't imbibing sacrifice the experience? It's also stigmatizing when you order a mocktail."

She says keeping inclusivity top of mind makes her bar strive to be better—it's not just a watering hole where people get drunk. Providing that supportive culture isn't a stretch for Chick, who's inadvertently become a mentor for women in the industry, working with Speed Rack (a female-only cocktail competition) and alongside bartender Christina Veira (a fellow Drink Atlantic presenter) to help push women further in a fairly dude-dominated industry.

"Uplifting the female bartending community is something I didn't know I was doing, but now I have the responsibility to really be listening and really find out what the the issues the community faces are. I'm socially responsible to make sure everyone's voices get heard," she says. "I think it's just opening the line of communication and getting people talking is a great start."

This weekend, she and Veira will dig into the importance of having real conversations about the realities of the bar biz via Cultural Mise-en-Place, a seminar on building a progressive hospitality community.

"Christina and I—we just really need people to be woke," says Chick with a laugh. "Everyone can hone in on their craft—yes it's your job, yes it's your career—but you are still just people. You need to be good, functioning people in society."

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Syd Delicious is hot and ready

The farmers’ market baker takes the basic, straight oughta the oven cinnamon bun and nails it.

Posted By on Wed, Jun 5, 2019 at 3:27 PM

“I have something to offer that isn’t being done,” says Daoust of her treats. - SYD DAOUST
  • “I have something to offer that isn’t being done,” says Daoust of her treats.

Syd Delicious
Alderney Farmers' Market
2 Ochterloney Street
Saturdays, 8am-1pm

Few things can match the comforting goodness of a warm cinnamon bun, fresh out of the oven. But finding this thrill outside of your own kitchen can prove a challenge. Syd Delicious, the Alderney Farmers' Market's newest vendor, is filling that void.

"I have something to offer that isn't being done—cinnamon buns right out of the oven. I have my own oven and takes 20 minutes to make a batch," says Syd Daoust, the brains, namesake and magic baking hands behind Syd Delicious. "I know why people don't do it—it's time-consuming, you need to make them the night before to double rise, it's tricky keeping them cold at the market—this is why people aren't doing it, but it's great and worth it."

Daoust's first market day was last Saturday, and business was booming—the stall sold out of most items by 9:30am. In addition to hot cinnamon buns, Syd Delicious also sells vanilla and chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and brownies. It's a compact little menu.

There's something else setting Syd Delicious apart from other treat stalls, but Daoust doesn't really advertise it while she's selling: All the items are vegan. "There's been a growing need for vegan food, it's popping up all over the place," she says. "I have no vegan friends. My whole family, we aren't activists in any way, we just enjoy it, we aren't judgemental. On our table we don't have it listed as vegan, it's not a secret, but from my own experience, when I say I made vegan cupcakes, some people steered away," she says. "I want the food to be good—not just good for being vegan. Some vegan groups came on Saturday to support me, but some people were just walking through and got a cookie and I didn't say a word."

There are no secretly healthy ingredients in Syd Delicious' roster, no hidden veggies or tofu. It's just an indulgence, and if you can't clock it as vegan, then all the better. "We had a test market at our house and it was great, a lot of people didn't know it was vegan. I'd tell them and they'd say, 'No way!'' says Daoust. "I just want people to enjoy my food."

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Last call–Pacifico is closing its current location

End of an era, for now.

Posted By on Wed, May 29, 2019 at 4:55 PM

  • Riley Smith

For 25 years Haligonians have been shaking what their mamas gave them, vodka and crans in hand, underneath Pacifico’s ceiling of glimmering of disco balls. But now, thanks to the refreshing of Barrington Street monster monolith, the Maritime Centre, the party is over. At least for now.

Last week the downtown nightclub shared that Saturday, June 1 would be its last hurrah on Barrington and Salter. No more DJ nights, no more bottle service, no more wobbly weaving your way from dance floor to dance floor. But before you start playing that montage of sweaty memories in your brain (to the tune of Darude’s “Sandstorm”)—hold, please. Pacifico promises it will be back “better than ever” somewhere downtown later into the summer season.

With that ominous promise in mind, dig out your dancing shoes and prepare for them to stick to the floor of 1505 Barrington Street once last time this weekend.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Almonak opens at Almon and Isleville

A new north end hangout for ya

Posted By on Wed, May 8, 2019 at 5:40 AM

There’s a little something for everyone at Almonak (5659 Almon Street). The north end eatery—which opens today—aims to blend together its kitchen, coffee and bakery into one welcoming space.

“Our unofficial motto for Almonak is: We're here for you wherever you are in your day,” says Kandace Homer, one of four owners. “Whether you want a coffee in the morning, you need a snack, you want to go out with your mom for lunch, you want to go out for a date at night, you want to go for a cocktail–Almonak’s here for you for whatever you're feeling in the day or even the evening.”

Floor to ceiling windows fill the space with natural lighting, plug-ins line the walls and the seating plan is designed to accommodate everyone from the solo person working on their laptop with a coffee to a group of pals laughing over dinner. The kitchen is focused on healthy, homemade lunches from Wednesday to Fridays, brunch on the weekends and dinner service with cocktails Wednesday to Sunday.

“It’s a small drink menu but it’s an eclectic menu,” says Almonak GM, Megan Kaufman. Compass Distillers is providing all of its liquors and is supplying kegged cocktails to serve on-tap, alongside Goodmore Kombucha and Planters Ridge bubbly for mimosas.

Homer says they’re trying to source as much as they can from local businesses–even some of their furniture comes from Project 9 on Agricola Street–and they’re passionate about the restaurant being as waste-free as possible. (There’s a water bottle refill station open to the public, people will be encouraged to stay and enjoy their coffee or bring a reusable mug next time they get a cup to go.)

The dinners will be large, family-style, shareable plates for families and groups, and bringing your own reusable containers to take home leftovers is encouraged. “For lunch hour, our real focus is hearty and healthy,” says Kaufman, describing the colourful bowls and salads designed to be keto-friendly, gluten-free and vegan inspired. The brunch menu will hone in on a big eggs Benny selection and healthy twists on classics, like swapping out Clamato juice with in-house beet juice in a Caesar.

When people come into the restaurant, they're spending their time, their money and their appetite, “so we don't want anyone to ever leave here regretting any decision,” says Homer.  “We want to be that place in the north end that still creates community, where everyone can come and gather." 
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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Cafe Fest comes to town because, coffee

The Quebec-based celebration heads east, bringing hot stuff to coffee shops across the HRM.

Posted By on Wed, May 1, 2019 at 4:19 PM

  • daniel dominic

Cafe Lara is calling all coffee geeks to its launch party of Cafe Fest, a week-long celebration of all things coffee, local and independent from May 5-11. "I like bringing the community together," says Lara Cusson. "I've been trying to get the coffee community together as much as possible—I think it's important that we all support each other."

Cafe owner (and namesake) Cusson reached out to fellow coffee people in the HRM to participate. Nineteen coffee shops got on board, all of which will be handing out coffee passports to their more adventurous patrons.

Haligonian coffee enthusiasts will be traveling from the Cottage Cafe in Dartmouth, to the Raven Espresso Boutique Coffee in Spryfield, Dilly Dally on Quinpool and Trident Booksellers in the south end, collecting stamps for a chance to win "highly caffeinated prizes." The goal is to get people talking about—and hopefully walking into—their local coffee shop. Maybe even inspire them to wander into a new coffee shop, in a new neighbourhood.

The idea originated with small batch coffee roasters Barista Microtorréfacteur in Montreal. They wanted to support other independent coffee shops, but also wanted to have a little fun, and thought festivals were the best way to get people involved in a little bit of both.

  • daniel dominic

The festival has been gaining traction for the past four years in Quebec and has expanded in number of participating shops, special events and now, thanks to Cusson (who's originally from Montreal), its first east coast appearance.

The fest's closing party will coincide with Open City on May 11 and be dedicated to hardworking baristas. Cusson encourages loyal customers to come out and support their favourite barista for some "very silly, very friendly" competitions, including a blindfolded late art challenge and announcing the winner of the photo competition to win a full year's worth of coffee.

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Coastal Cook House offers Fisherman's Cove a new feed

Gourmet takeout by the ocean

Posted By on Wed, Apr 10, 2019 at 4:35 PM


Kale Boucher and Jeff Lucas want to make their mark at Fisherman’s Cove.  The pair of restaurant vets share 23 years’ experience between them—Boucher as a Red Seal chef, Lucas in both the front- and back-of-house—and have teamed up open Coastal Cook House (16 Government Wharf), a gourmet take-out restaurant on the scenic waterfront strip.

“We’ve had so many ideas at different restaurants we worked at and couldn’t implement them,” says Lucas. “So when the opening came up at Fisherman’s Cove, we decided to pursue it.” Boucher says the menu will be small but diverse. They’ll be flexible to change it based on customer desires but are hopeful diners will find favourites that they’ll come back for. “The idea we came up with is come out with a small menu we can execute to perfection. When people ask what the best dish is, we want to be able to tell them everything is great.”

The debut line-up features sandwiches (like chicken and waffle), burgers, lobster and bacon mac and cheese and a couple of rice dishes. Lucas, who calls the Eastern Passage neighbourhood a “mini-Lunenburg,” is excited about the potential of their business’ new home. “This place is like an untapped market,” adds Boucher. “There are not many restaurants around and we wanted to add something new to the area. It’s developing and growing, and we wanted to make it boom.”

Coastal Cookhouse aims to open on May 1.
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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

DRINK THIS: Petite Riviere Vineyards’ Mighty Maroon

A Port-style wine that invites coziness with its sweet, strong balance.

Posted By on Wed, Apr 3, 2019 at 4:29 PM


This Nova Scotian wine perfectly expresses our spring. Its rich, velvety, dark red berry flavours are the soft wool scarf you still need to wind around your throat to bury your chin before stepping outside. Its sweet heat is the wood fire that has been going since November, eating up your now dwindling supply in the woodshed. Its fresh acid kick is the bite of winds reminding us that cold, in these parts, is king.

Get cozy with Petite Riviere Vineyards' 2016 Mighty Maroon because this wine is all about skin contact. The grapes Leon Millot and Lucie Kuhlmann are fermented in their own skins, in a process called carbonic maceration. In this process, grapes are not in contact with oxygen during fermentation, but carbon dioxide instead, resulting in a fresh, fruity style of wine. After alcoholic fermentation, the wine—still on its skins!—went through malolactic fermentation, which converts astringent malic acid into softer lactic acid.

This delicious south shore wine is then fortified with the winery's own grape spirits (distilled by Ironworks Distillery), resulting in a velvety, mouth-filling, sweet, strong and beautifully balanced Port-style wine. The Mighty Maroon—available at Petite Riviere's winery, the Halifax Seaport Farmers' Market (1209 Marginal Road) and Alderney Landing Farmers' Market (2 Ochterloney Street)—will ease you into spring. After all, winter is in no hurry to leave.

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Who's behind the mysterious Beverley Taco Service?


Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2019 at 5:21 PM


Have you seen this poster? If so, between scratching your head and wiping the drool from your chin you may have wondered who Beverley is and why she wants to feed both your curiosity and your belly.

Turns out mysterious masa-loving taco maker, Beverley Taco Service (which has plastered telephone poles as of Friday), comes to us from Highwayman chef Blair Clarke and his beer buds at Stillwell. A longtime taco fanatic, Clarke has been researching the handheld Mexican meal for years and after a trip to Oaxaca this winter with Stillwell's Chris Reynolds, he's ready to debut his own.

"It was pretty eye-opening. You can read and research all you want but going and experiencing—it kind of re-instated that simple is always better," says Clarke, who says his tacos will be all about freshness and flavour, but its the tortilla itself that will be the star.

That's because Beverley Taco Service has its own custom-built corn mill. The
 beloved contraption means Clarke's taking heirloom corn from Oaxaca and grinding fresh masa on the daily at a downtown prep kitchen he and Reynolds affectionately call The Masaplex. "Once you’ve had a tortilla made with fresh masa, it kind of sets the bar," says Clarke. "It did take some leg work"—or a couple of years of searching—"but 600 pounds later here we are."

If you haven't already called the poster's taco hotline and are wondering when/where/how you can taste the "life-giving salsas," Stillwell-quality drink selection and those fresher-than-you corn tortillas—we're here to tell you BTS will make its entrance via pop-up.

The first appearance is slated for Friday, April 12 at Cafe Good Luck (145 Portland Street) from 6pm to 10pm and the second goes down Saturday, May 4 at the Mayflower Curling Club (3000 Monaghan Drive) from 7pm-11pm. But you should still give that number a call. It's a treat.

The pop-ups will continue through the summer as Clarke and the Stillwell gang nail down a permanent location for their soon-to-be restaurant (which will be downtown). And even better? BTS will spend the summer serving up its best stuff at the Stillwell Beer Garden (5688 Spring Garden Road).
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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Tako Loko takes the north end by storm

Life is but a dream for Vicky Ruiz, who opened her Mexican restaurant to a surge of hungry Haligonians.

Posted By on Thu, Mar 28, 2019 at 1:18 AM


Tako Loko (3248 Isleville Street) opened its doors last Wednesday to a hungry crowd of north enders. Keeping the menu simple, the 20-seat restaurant offers seven types of tacos: Chicken, carne asada (grilled steak), chorizo, carnitas de Puerco, suadero (brisket), fish and veggie. Customers can also choose between beans, rice, quesadilla and guacamole and chips.

"This is my language, my meat, my flavours, my colours," owner Vicky Ruiz says.

Tako Loko has labelled itself an authentic Mexican restaurant in order to let people know they won't find Tex-Mex tacos—you know, the ground beef, cheese, lettuce and sour cream kind—here. In Mexico, a taco is a soft corn tortilla with meat, onions, cilantro, lime and salsa.

Ruiz and her children, José, Daniela and Enrique, moved to Halifax from Mexico more than 15 years ago. Minus a few exceptions, like Mexico Lindo in Fairview, they were hard-pressed to find restaurants that served the food they loved and missed.

In an effort to make sure Tako Loko had a look as representative of Mexico as possible, she chose all of the restaurant’s vibrant colours and decorations. Green and yellow walls are adorned with a chalkboard menu and yellow coat hangers that look like garden spigots. Four lights are suspended from the ceiling with knotted hemp rope. On a shelf behind the cash, a rainbow donkey piñata relaxes – just out of reach.

As we sit in the restaurant, four separate groups of people knock on the door. Each time, José tells them politely, "We open at five tonight."

Apparently, this has become a common occurrence. Ruiz isn't sure how word has spread so quickly—she's already gone through 1,500 tortillas. She says several people have been by twice, and often stay for more than one round of food.

Luckily, service is fast-paced as tacos are easy to prepare and quick to disappear.

"This has been my dream for many, many years," Ruiz says.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

DRINK THIS: Boxing Rock’s 14 Carrot Gold pale ale

The Shelburne brewery and Square Roots turned ugly carrots into something beautiful.

Posted By on Wed, Mar 27, 2019 at 1:22 PM


It may not count towards daily vegetable intake, but who cares? Boxing Rock Brewing Company just released a beer made with carrots.

The aptly named 14 Carrot Gold is a collaboration with Square Roots, a social enterprise formed by Enactus Saint Mary's, working toward reducing food waste and increasing food security. For example, Square Roots buys imperfect produce (or "seconds produce") that would normally be thrown away, then sells it in inexpensive 10-pound bundles. Boxing Rock's 14 Carrot Gold contains locally supplied seconds carrots.

When Boxing Rock owner Emily Tipton first met up with Square Roots, she was unsure how to tackle the key ingredient. "Vegetables are not normally an ingredient that you would put in beer," she says, because "they don't actually have a lot of usable sugar." But 1,100 pounds of carrots (and some help from The Juice Press) later, the team made it work. The result is a mild, earthy pale ale with herbal hops, honey malt and just a hint of carrot flavour. Tipton says the Square Roots folks "were so incredibly enthusiastic and really got involved with the whole process" and she's hopeful Boxing Rock will be able to donate some of the beer proceeds to Square Roots' token program.

Sehmat Suri, the director of strategic partnerships for SMU's Enactus groups, says it's been a fulfilling experience for everyone involved.

"It was just so important to start that conversation about food waste and about looking at the amazing ways that you can turn food that you think you can't use—not just nutritional aspects," she says, "but also something fun."

The beer is expected to be on the shelves of most NSLC stores by April 1. On April 2, Boxing Rock will be hosting its monthly beer tasting and food pairing—featuring 14 Carrot Gold—at its Halifax bottle shop inside the Local Source Market (2530 Agricola Street).

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Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Do your weekend feasting at the Pakistan Food Festival

The annual event is back on a grander scale

Posted By on Wed, Mar 20, 2019 at 5:01 PM

  • submitted
“I was fascinated with the Greek Festival, I loved to go there and see the culture,” says Anila Najaf, president of the Pakistani Canadian Association of Nova Scotia and organizer of this weekend’s Pakistan Food Festival.

She was the woman in charge of the first iteration of the celebration back in 2016, an event that drew in 700-plus attendees–over double the number of people she expected. “That was the incentive behind it, we thought ‘People actually have an appetite for this.’” After a couple of years in transition, this year’s festival will take place on a much grander scale, Najaf says.

On Saturday, March 23, vendors, entertainers and food stalls will take over St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church (38 Purcells Cove Road) from noon to 6pm.

“I think we have a lot of offer, a lot of show off and we just love to eat. In Pakistan every recipe, every problem, the solution is food. Why not show that to people?” says Najaf. “We don’t actually have a Pakistani restaurant here. This is a great advertisement for small businesses that don’t have the money to invest in publicity for themselves.”

On top of Pakistani food vendors, there’ll also be some Indian food to cater to vegetarians and vegans, plus henna, jewellery, performances and fun stuff for the kids, too. “There’ll be a lot of unique stuff,” promises Najaf, “things people from Nova Scotia have never seen.” 
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Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Tom's Little Havana is re-branding

After 22 years, the bar signs off to become Sura Lounge

Posted By on Tue, Mar 19, 2019 at 1:11 PM

The OG Tom's on Doyle - SAMSON LEARN
  • The OG Tom's on Doyle
  • Samson Learn

It might not feel that surprising to hear that Tom’s Little Havana (1540 Birmingham Street) is saying goodbye. The adored Halifax watering hole’s been through a lot of change in the last stretch of time—most notably when it moved from its (loveably) dank hole in the wall on Doyle Street back in 2015.

Entrepreneur Deeksha Bhaskar took over Tom’s and The Fireside in 2017 and flipped the latter to become Rasa Flavours of India. She says the writing was on the wall as soon as Tom’s namesake Tom Wile wasn't on the scene.

“It was no longer Havana, that was pretty clear,” says the business owner. “It was getting complicated running two very different establishments and not being able to do justice to Tom’s as it was. It wasn’t our strength anyway, it’s better to run something that represents our strengths.”

Like Sura Lounge, the new concept for the bar, which Bhaskar says will offer tapa-style small dishes, and Indian-fusion cuisine. It won’t be an extension of Rasa, just a better complement.

Tom’s signs off officially on March 27, after 22 years of offering a tucked away spot for Scotch-soaked heart-to-hearts and intimate first dates. With beer galore and an auction of Tom’s memorabilia, Bhaskar hopes it’ll be more celebration than mourning.

“So many people are connected to Tom’s and we wanted to make sure to try our best not to hurt anyone's feelings,” she says, adding that much of that attachment comes thanks to the beloved staff—who will be staying onboard at Sura Lounge. “We completely respect the connection people have, and we have gotten to know those regulars. We want to keep that connection going if we can.”
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Monday, March 18, 2019

Yeah Yeahs Pizza is coming to Halifax


Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2019 at 6:57 PM

  • submitted

If you're a Yeah Yeahs Pizza fan you're probably willing to go to the ends of the earth (or at least across the harbour) for your fix, but brilliant news—soon Haligonians won't have to.

Co-owners of Dartmouth's highly addictive pizza joint, Josh Nordin and Dean Petty, have just started the renovation phase of their new location, which will call the character-filled 1663 Barrington Street (AKA the former Little Mysteries book shop, across from Stillwell and The Barrington) home later this spring.

"We always had been toying with the idea of opening a shop in Halifax, but doing Dartmouth first made sense for us," says Nordin. "Every day I run into someone who’s like ‘I never get a chance to get over there.'"

The stand-alone pizza shop will offer the same relaxed vibes and aesthetic as its Dartmouth counterpart, a mostly identical menu (with a few additions) and is aiming to serve both beer and wine to wash it all down with. There'll also be space for 40ish people to sit down and stay awhile. And delivery? It's not off the table.

"If we can make it work, we’d love to make it work," says Petty. "If we can’t offer delivery and keep the quality high, we won’t do delivery."

For now, the business partners—who opened a Yeah Yeahs in Toronto in collaboration with Boxcar Social just over a year ago—are focused on taking the character-filled Barrington Street space and building a place folks want to hang out, pig out and doodle on their paper plates.

You can be one of those people, slice in hand, in mid/late May.
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Thursday, March 7, 2019

The Ville Caffeine Bar opens on Sackville Street

Taking over one of the former Smiling Goat locations, the cafe offers rotating coffee roasts, buttery baked goods and fresh-to-order sandwiches

Posted By on Thu, Mar 7, 2019 at 9:49 AM

Jenna Oosterholt is The VIlle's owner - KYLEE NUNN
  • Jenna Oosterholt is The VIlle's owner
  • Kylee Nunn
“I was done working for a boss and I wanted to do something on my own,” says Jenna Oosterholt, owner of the newly opened The Ville Caffeine Bar (5146 Sackville Street).

The Ville offers a rotating bean, cycling through various roasters from around the world to provide a diverse selection of coffee. To start off, Oosterholt is featuring Shock Coffee from New York, which is known for containing 50 percent more caffeine than the average roast. For those looking for something more consistent, The Ville also has a regular supply of Java Blend’s organic Colombian medium.

With baked goods from Michelle MacDonald’s Buttered Bliss, customers are invited to pull up a stool at the 18-foot live edge maplewood bar that wraps around the cafe as they bite into almond bourbon pecan tarts and lavender blueberry doughnuts.

“I’m basically just made out of Buttered Bliss and coffee now,” Oosterholt says, laughing.

Sandwiches are also available and made fresh-to-order. The sunriser, crafted for the morning breakfast crowd, consists of applewood smoked ham, spinach, tomato, mayo and old cheddar on a croissant or English muffin that is grilled with an egg wash. Other sandwiches include the vegan clubhouse and the BTM (basil, tomato and mozzarella—the sandwich version of a Caprese salad).

Oosterholt, 24, has been in the restaurant industry since she was 12. Originally looking to open a gourmet coffee cart at Bishop’s Landing, she upgraded her idea from cart to cafe upon noticing the empty space that used to house Smiling Goat’s Sackville Street location.

A strong believer of simplicity, Oosterholt furnished The Ville in industrial textures, such as wood and metal, and decorated with praying plants and vines that dot the black and white walls. The bathroom, Oosterholt’s favourite place, has a collection of framed quotes, similar to scribbled notes left on bathroom stalls, except these notes are words of wisdom she has gleaned from family and friends over the years.

“‘Trust your gut,’” Oosterholt says. “That one’s mine.”
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