Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Mappatura Bistro is coming to Spring Garden

Get ready to ciao down with chef Terry Vassallo

Posted By on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 12:13 PM

  • Margot Durling

Terry Vassallo and Simone Mombourquette are humble veterans in Nova Scotia’s restaurant scene, but after paying their dues—making their marks on locally loved spots like Lunenburg’s Trattoria Della Nonna and Cafe Chianti— the pair are fulfilling a dream and opening their own spot. “If it’s a poker game, we’re all in,” says Vassallo, with a giddy excitement in his voice.

Mappatura Bistro will debut in early November, making its home in 1,600 square feet, or half, of the former Saege location (5883 Spring Garden Road), which has been empty since it closed in 2015.

“We thought about what brought the two of us here, and when you put it all down and brainstormed it looked like a trail, a map,” says Vassallo of the Breakhouse-designed, Italian-inspired, neighbourhood restaurant’s name. “When we were in Italy our best eating experiences happened when we actually got lost and ended up in neighbourhoods and small osterias, enotecas and trattorias.”

With that welcoming, off-the-beaten track atmosphere in mind, Mappatura aims to combine chef Vassallo’s focus on local ingredients and approachable food (and price point) with Mombourquette’s sommelier skills undying commitment to rock solid hospitality. The menu will feature seasonally driven dishes, fresh pastas and—because you can’t open in the former Saege and not do weekend brunch—an Italian brunch.

“I’ve always been kind of juggling these two worlds,” says Vassallo, of his love of Italian cuisine, and his French training. “Impeccable technique and the Italian way of relying of really good ingredients. So, we’ll be putting ingredients in the forefront and backing them up with honest technique.” He says it’ll be a bit of a departure from his work at Cafe Chianti, but will stay true to his influences.

“We don’t feel like we’re doing this on our own,” he says. “Because we’re doing it with all these farmers, oyster farmers and seafood purveyors.”

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Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Canteen is headed for Portland Street

"We're growing up," says Renée Lavallée

Posted By on Thu, Oct 13, 2016 at 12:50 PM

  • via Kickstarter

Advantage, Portland Street.

Today chef/owner Renée Lavallée announced that after two-plus years slaying the sandwich game above Two If By Sea (66 Ochterloney Street), The Canteen is moving, and expanding. The brand new, 55-seater restaurant is set to debut in early 2017 at 22 Portland Street—the longtime home to the iconic-looking, family-run Sun Sun Cafe.

“When we opened this location we wanted to bring a lunch spot to the neighbourhood, and I wanted a work-life balance because I had two small kids. But now my kids are older,” says Lavallée of the decision to grow. "It was a very natural progression. I just want to bring a neighbourhood restaurant to downtown Dartmouth. We're a family restaurant moving into the home of a family restaurant of 40 years.”

The plan to grow has been in the works for over a year, but she calls the location a bit serendipitous. “My friend said to me, ‘Renée, I’m thinking about buying a building on Portland Street,’ and we just looked at each other and said ‘Sun Sun’,” says Lavallée.

That friend, Elliot MacNeil of Bruno Builders Inc., is renovating the building for both retail and residential space, while By + Large Studios (Lot Six, Primal) will be behind the new Canteen’s design. The move will allow the restaurant to serve both weekend brunch and full-service dinner, while expanding on the lunch foundation its been building 2014. (In short, your sandwiches aren't going anywhere, don't worry.) As always, Lavallée will have a strong focus on local ingredients, a sensibility that will be echoed in the bar program.

“I want to go somewhere where it looks comforting and its not loud, I can have a conversation across the table. I want to feel like I’m walking into someone's house,” she says of the inspiration behind The Canteen’s expansion. “I want people to be able to read the menu and not be afraid. It’ll be seasonal and local, simple food that I would want to eat.”

The Canteen is looking to raise $30,000 for the renovations—er, gut job— and associated costs of the move. Check out the Kickstarter campaign, here.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Gottingen Street scores The Foggy Goggle

The pub ditches Argyle at the end of December

Posted By on Wed, Oct 5, 2016 at 1:05 PM

Team Foggy at the new north end digs - @THEFOGGYGOGGLE
  • Team Foggy at the new north end digs
  • @thefoggygoggle

After eight years hanging its oversized pair of goggles at 1667 Argyle Street, deep-fryer-free pub, The Foggy Goggle, has announced it will be pouring beers from Gottingen Street come early 2017.

The Goggle's owners Natalie Dugie and Julie Streight shared via social media today that their downtown location will sign off on December 20 to make the move to 2057 Gottingen Street, a new home flanked by other food-focussed businesses like jane's next door, EDNA and the also new in the neighbourhood LF Bakery.

Streight says is was the opportunity to buy the building, not the much discussed Nova Centre construction, that prompted the Goggle to dig up its Argyle roots. "We’re going to be our own landlords, that’s the big reason. We're investing in ourselves and the community," she says. "That doesn’t really have anything to do with it—we’ve loved it here, but we’re excited for what’s next."

The Gottingen location will allow the restaurant/bar the space for a private room, and the capacity to expand upon its catering offerings, while staying true to what its built a reputation on downtown—good service, late night comfort food, long lazy brunches and friendly vibes. The north end location aims to renovated and ready for business by mid-January. "It'll be the same Goggle that we are now." says Streight. "We're going to retain that same feeling."

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