Go local in the Hydrostone

Go local with The Coast as we visit neighbourhood businesses across the city. This week, we visit the tony Hydrostone area of the north end.

The big news in the tony Hydrostone Market is that the delightful Rogi Orazio Pasta & World Cucina has closed. Hamachi Kita, now at 5543 Young, will be moving into the Rogi Orazio space at 5537 Young this week. Hamachi Kita will move one door over and a casual bistro, called Little Europe, will be opened by the Hamachi folk. They'll still carry some of the Rogi dishes like gelato and pasta, but with sandwiches added to the menu as well.

The space occupied by Dignity by Design at 5530 Kaye will soon be filled with a new business: Ed's Unique Gift Store (830-7815), which will house a number of businesses under one roof, says owner Ed Levick. "I put images on canvas, art and photos. They last forever." He describes the new venture as a co-operative of sorts. Along with his work, expect gift bags, toys made from recycled materials, chocolate and ice cream.

At Maritime Beer & Wine Making Supplies (5528 Kaye, 454-8278) they're experiencing a bit of a lull, says employee Jack Stone. "People like to make beer and wine in cooler weather. This is an indoor activity." That said, he thinks a "tanking" economy is a plus, with people wanting to save money by making their own beer and wine---and, presumably, having more reason to drink. You'll find monthly specials for wine kits and fruit wine kits.

Toulany's Lunch Box (3081 Gottingen, 455-5535) specials include lasagna with Caesar salad ($5.99) and both Caribbean jerk chicken and more mid-east fare such as kafta, fatier, falafel and veggie plates, with freezers full of frozen treats. On the eastern-most end of the Hydrostone Market is the Alliance Francaise (5509 Young, 455-4411), the French language and cultural centre, offering classes for adults and kids, including individual tutoring and corporate business classes. Next door is Rusty Hinges (5513 Young) in the space once occupied by Topiary. If it looks surprisingly similar, that's because Rusty Hinges used to supply Topiary with iron pieces and garden products. Rusty Hinges has been in business for 11 years and was located across the street for less than a year before moving into this space. They manufacture furniture and products for the cottage, home and garden using old shelving units, mirrors, cabinets, signs, birdhouses and dressers. Other items include soap, candles and bubblebath. Call Saundra MacKenzie at 406-1056 for more information, or just drop in.

Basking in their recent 2009 Best of Food reader's poll win for Best Bakery, Julien's (5517 Young Street, 455-9717) is irresistible for anyone wandering by with a taste for fresh bread and sweets. The home bakery---in Chester---has recently been renovated, so there's even more of their popular baked goods to be enjoyed, delivered daily. Julien's also sells fair trade organic coffee roasted in the valley, and does custom orders and catering.

Lady Luck has been open approximately 13 months, operated by Melanie and Jennifer Huntley in this second location of the business, with the first in Historic Properties on the Waterfront. It's a bright, open store, showcasing all made-in-Canada jewellery, as well as bags, candles, cards, retro-styled bathing caps and cosmetic bags made from bathing caps. In the back is the Hydrostone Gallery, featuring paintings through June by Michael Lewis.

Chrysalis Spa & Skin Care Centre (5521 Young, 446-3929) will have been open seven years this June and is celebrating by introducing Canadian-made Daniel Thompson Mineral Cosmetics to Halifax. Thompson will be at Chrysalis Saturday June 6 doing makeup applications.

The stalwart Antique Shoppe (5515 Young, 471-2448) is offering a deal on old vinyl, a dollar each or 15 for $10. We found Best of Styx, The Carpenters Christmas Album and a whole whack of Roger Whittaker records. Next door is Bogside Gallery (5527 Young, 453-3063) offering unique crafts and gifts created by local and national artisans. Epicurious Morsels has a dynamite weekend brunch menu, including Belgian waffles, banana pancakes and stuffed French toast.

Sappho Griffin and Denise Coulter have plenty on their hands at henhouse (5533 Young, 423-4499). Offering custom furniture since 2001, they've recently started two new lines: one clean and contemporary and one with a more rustic elegance. They also build custom kitchens, with a showroom right in the store. The home accessories are still on site as well, with a full third of the store devoted to a new kids line; toys and such.

The pizza king, Salvatore's Pizzaiolo Trattoria, (5541 Young, 455-1133) has been once again anointed by Coast readers with Best Pizza Pie in the city award. Long may it reign. LK Yarns (5545 Young, 431-9633) has a bundle of handmade yarn ends on sale at the moment, from Fleece Artists and Hand Maidens.

If you continue up the street (Isleville, specifically) from the Hydrostone Market you'll find Kay-Cee's New & Used Items (3132 Isleville, 454-3838) and Sweetleaf Smoke Shop & Hydroponics (3132, Isleville, 454-6646). Sweetleaf has an impressive selection of growing supplies, for any kind of operation, as well as the requisite bongs, papers, pipes and "smelly proof" plastic bags. A little further up is Willman's Fish & Chips (5644 Kane, 454-0929), open since 1946 and offering Digby clams and scallops and shoodogs (battered hot dogs), along with the fish and the chips. Look for a Willman's chip truck to straddle Argyle this summer. Head west on Kane and you'll find Halifax Seed (5860 Kane, 454-7456), another kind of growing centre, for all your fertilizer, rose and grape-vine needs.

Super Natural Health Products (5575 Young, 454-9999) is nearing the end of renovations. Soon they'll have a deli, with coffee and tea available, upstairs seating and a larger supply of health supplements. "Our aim is to expand our health service to the community," says owner Shahrooz Sobhani. Across the street you'll find The Futon Store & Pineworks (5730 Young, 454-9029), full of furniture and futons. The pine is locally milled, with some coming from Quebec. After 27 years, they know what they're doing. "Students are our main business," says manager Kevin Carter, who sees a spike in interest in both furniture and futons before holidays, "when relatives come to town."

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