Thursday, April 27, 2017

Fruition is now Springhouse

Springhouse has sprung!

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 6:03 AM

New logo, who dis?
  • New logo, who dis?

“We are five years in business, and we started the business as a hobby when we were babies and knew nothing,” says Jessie Doyle of Fruition with a laugh. “It’s slowly grown over the last few years, we often say it’s taken a life of its own. It took the lead and we followed.” Just in time for the business’ fifth year of serving up raw, fresh creative food it’s making some changes—Doyle and her business partner and husband Seth Graham started by closing their Coburg Road cafe location to focus on their Seaport Farmers’ Market (1209 Marginal Road) flagship, and this week they’re relaunching with a new name, Springhouse.

“It’s a small, one-room building that covers a spring,” says Doyle. “It would also keep food cool and fresh. It harkens back to a time when food was pure.” Springhouse will also freshen up its market location, to allow for more efficient production and output, and will put in a Pop Culture Kombucha Co. tap, but otherwise it’s business as usual. Doyle will celebrate five years and fresh beginnings this weekend at Head 2 Toe’s Girls Night Out (Exhibition Park, Friday April 28, 5pm).

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Birdie's Bread Co. is ready to take flight

And The Canteen is expanding!

Posted By on Thu, Apr 27, 2017 at 4:09 AM

Jessica Best spreads her wings with Birdie's - DYLAN CHEW
  • Jessica Best spreads her wings with Birdie's
  • Dylan Chew

Birdie's Bread Co.
380 Pleasant Street

Dartmouth is on a roll thanks to Jessica Best. She is well on her way to opening Birdie’s Bread Co. at 380 Pleasant Street in Woodside. “We’re getting closer. I say that every day, but oh my god there is still so much more to do,” says Best.

The plan is to open Birdie’s in the last week of May. “But that might be a little ambitious,” Best says. Just last week a grain mill—“a logistical beast to try to sort out,” she says—arrived, an enormous crate, so at least the biggest piece of the puzzle is in place.

Best started her baking career at Auntie Crae’s and Raymonds Restaurant in St. John’s before moving to Halifax where, as head baker, she helped Renee Lavallée open The Canteen. You can currently find her roster of sourdoughs—along with other goods like croissants, cookies and muesli—at the Alderney Landing Farmers’ Market (2 Ochterloney Street).

The new bakery will focus on fresh-baked breads, like the sourdoughs, whole wheat, rye and Eastern European-style breads, and freshly milled flour. “And I would really like to be able to do some fresh pastas in-house for retail,” Best says. “Anything flour-related I’d like to play with and see if people will buy.”

Birdie’s will also have a small cafe space with pastries and drip coffee. And Best’s bread will also be available at Little C To Go, the new takeout-focused sister restaurant of The Canteen, which should open in June.

“Jess and I have had an amazing relationship for almost four years now and I want to support her as much as I can and vice versa,” says Lavallée, who uses Best’s bread in dishes at The Canteen.

Little C will open in the small space directly next door to the restaurant. It will serve up prepared sandwiches, soups and salads that are geared towards the grab-and-go lunch crowd.
“Just like everything in our lives, we didn’t plan it,” Lavallée says of Little C. “A lot of our original customer base wasn’t pleased with the long wait for takeout in the new space. And we don’t want to lose the people who made us what we are.”

“We want to make sure that if you’re getting takeout from Little C you’re getting a great experience and if you’re staying in The Canteen you’re also getting a great experience,” says Lavallée’s partner at The Canteen, Doug Townsend.

Until 5pm Little C will act as a take-out spot, turning into an overflow room for The Canteen, complete with a patio, at night. The hope is to be open for Switch Dartmouth on June 5, though you may find them slinging soft-serve during Open City in May.

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Drift Coffee heats up

Another reason to hit the Forum Farmers' Market

Posted By on Thu, Apr 20, 2017 at 4:57 AM


Sometimes you fill your free time with walks in the park, hangouts with friends and meandering mornings at the market, and sometimes you start a small business. At least that’s what you do if you’re Graham Ereaux. A touring musician (Ereaux is known as Devarrow on stage), he was looking to keep busy and employed during his stints at home in Halifax. He recently launched Drift Coffee, a small, super-focused coffee stand Saturdays at the Halifax Forum Farmers’ Market
(2901 Windsor Street).

“I worked at a cafe and roastery in Vancouver. It was working there that I got in interested in coffee, roasting beans, single-origin coffee,” he says. “I always just kind of thought coffee was coffee until I worked there.” With the hopes of being able to get Haligonians hooked on coffee nerdery, too, he dreamed up Drift. “It’s a lot more common to see a coffee menu that’s sort of an encouragement of that knowledge,” says Ereaux of some of the cafes he’s fallen for in his time travelling across the country. With this in mind, he started by teaming up with local roasters, Anchored Coffee for his debut menu, and serves the Vancouver-based Justea. He also sells coffee by the bag. “I’ve started with Anchored because they’ve been incredibly supportive, and will be my local main wholesaler. But it’s a good opportunity to show off different roasteries across Canada,” he says.

For now, he’s about to head off on another stint on the road—and has scrambled to find someone to staff Drift while he’s gone—but when he returns he’s aiming higher. A bigger bar, more beans, pour-overs and special events. “As a secondary project to music, it’s been quite off-the-cuff,” says Ereaux, surprised of his stand’s popularity. “It became apparent quickly that I need to be there every week if I can. I guess at the end of the day people really appreciate and value good coffee, and customer service.”

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Thursday, April 13, 2017

Rinaldo’s family focus

In May, Tony and Sam Rinaldo bring Italian American eats to Windsor Street.

Posted By on Thu, Apr 13, 2017 at 4:00 AM

Tony and Sam Rinaldo are gearing up to bring Italian American eats to Windsor Street. - RACHEL MCGRATH
  • Tony and Sam Rinaldo are gearing up to bring Italian American eats to Windsor Street.

Salvatore Rinaldo didn’t exactly leave a trail of breadcrumbs for his sons, Tony and Sam, to follow. It’s more like a path that was coated in breadcrumbs, fried, and covered in marinara. Who wouldn’t follow that path?

He was, of course, the founder of the original Salvatore’s New York Pizza (now Salvatore’s Pizzaiolo Trattoria). Tony and Sam are just about to open Rinaldo’s (2186 Windsor Street), a brick and mortar restaurant and obvious next step for the brothers who, for the past few years, have been slinging hot dogs and heroes through T-Dogs and their sandwich company, Rinaldo’s Italian American Specialties, a regular feature at the Good Robot gastroturf.

The Rinaldo brothers have teamed up with Steven Haynes, an old family friend who owns winemaking supply store Noble Grape. “Steven was actually the first employee for Salvatore’s New York Pizza. He was my dad’s employee,” says Tony. “When I was away in Montreal I’d come back to visit and we’d hang out at family events and he always said he was interested in doing something with me and Sam, so when I finally moved back we decided it was the right time to do it.”

The restaurant is currently under construction in the old Good Food Emporium space on Windsor Street, with plans to open in May. While the Rinaldos will run the kitchen, Haynes is working on the wine portion of the bar program with another family friend, award-winning bartender Jenner Cormier, consulting on the cocktails. There will also be a half dozen taps from local craft breweries.

The main plan is for the Rinaldos to put their own spin on Italian American classics. “We definitely want people to feel really comfortable and at home here,” says Tony. “It’s food done the old school Italian way but using Italian American flavours, the essence of what was created in the New York area.” This means dishes like penne alla vodka, chicken parmesan and pizza. Pasta will all be made from scratch—cavatelli will be a house staple—and favourite sandwiches like the eggplant parm and meatball hero will also be on the menu.

“We have dishes that are inspired by recipes that have been passed down from my father, my grandmother and my great grandparents,” says Tony. “We have recipes from my grandfather, his sausage recipe, my great grandmother’s Sicilian olive salad. Not to say we’re going to put that on the menu, but we have a treasure trove of recipes that Sam and I are just kind of making our own.

“It’s nice to take those, take that history and make it our own,” he says. “We value where we came from.”

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Battery Park, recharged

The Dartmouth resto is shaking up the menu, and flipping Ace burgers

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 5:08 PM

  • via Ace Burger

It turns out George and Leo Christakos had an ace in the hole. Or, rather, they put an Ace in the hole that chef Mark Gray left in their restaurant concept when, last month, he announced he was going to be leaving Battery Park (62 Ochterloney Street).

The food at Battery Park has been defined by Gray’s penchant for elevated dishes and finer dining since opening in late 2015, and with his departure comes a pivot for the restaurant. What’s interesting, though, is that he’s helping to make that change.

“Whenever you hear a chef is leaving, people are like ‘Oh my god what happened?’” says George. “‘What’s the drama?’ ‘What’s going to happen to the restaurant?’ But Mark actually created an extremely well thought-out exit strategy. He was here to oversee the rollout of lunch. And he’s passing on a lot of responsibility to Andrew Shannon, who is the sous chef.”

Shannon will work closely with chef Andrew Prince of Ace Burger Co. (2605 Agricola Street). Together they will develop the new lunchtime Ace Burger menu at Battery Park along with what will be a singular dinner menu.

Ace Burger launched at Battery Park during Burger Week—“Dad and I are kind of suckers for punishment from one perspective,” George says with a laugh, “but it gave us a really good opportunity to create as much awareness as possible”—and is now open daily, both as an eat-in lunch destination and as a take-out counter.
“Five years of doing Gus’ Pub has given us an idea of where Ace Burger can go,” says George. “And I think one of the things we kind of learned from our partnership with Bearly’s is that if we work better when we have full control. So this has been working out really well.”

With Shannon and Prince working together, the Christakos’ are excited to push their limits.

“We’re going to get to explore Andrew Prince’s cuisine outside of burgers,” he says. “At Bearly’s we just began to explore how would Ace do ribs, how would Ace do curry and chips, how would Ace do donair hot pockets—super fun, kinda gritty, messy food. And I think it’s really in sync with who me and my father are as restaurateurs and what we know we are comfortable with. And it definitely makes sense at Battery Park. I’m pumped.”

Editor's note
The original version misnamed Andrew Prince as Andrew Price. The Coast regrets the error

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Wednesday, April 5, 2017

il Mercato gets a makeover

The Bedford resto debuts its new look tomorrow

Posted By on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 4:08 PM

A peek via il Mercato's Facebook - VIA FACEBOOK
  • A peek via il Mercato's Facebook
  • via Facebook

After just over two weeks of hard work, Bedford’s il Mercato (1595 Bedford Highway) debuts its new look this week. The 14-year-old Bertossi Group favourite has undergone what Stephanie Bertossi calls “a spring re-do” that will result in some fresh decor, a massive new bar, a second-floor patio and some sprucing up in the menu department (hello, meatball burger!). “It’s the quickest one yet,” says Bertossi, who’s been working with Bertossi Group owners Dean Leland and Hakan Uluer as a consultant on the project.

“I’m known for the fast renos but this one was really fast.” She says the inspiration remains il Mercato—blending old with new to make sure the lively, family-friendly atmosphere of the restaurant remains. The new second-floor, flower-filled patio will seat 50, while the marble bar will make room for 20. “All of the restaurants in the Bertossi Group, they always evolve,” she adds. “Hakan and Dean really embrace the change.”

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The Economy Shoe Shop's been sold

Owner says the streetscaping plan is the "nail in the coffin"

Posted By on Wed, Apr 5, 2017 at 4:00 PM

Summer 2017 will NOT look like this on Argyle - RILEY SMITH
  • Summer 2017 will NOT look like this on Argyle
  • Riley Smith

“It’s bittersweet. I hate the idea of moving out, leaving this but as you know, I’m not making any money here,” says Economy Shoe Shop (1663 Argyle Street) owner Victor Syperek matter-of-factly of his decision to sell the iconic Halifax bar after 22 years on Argyle Street.

He dropped the bomb that he was handing over its keys to Toothy Moose owner Brad Hartlin live on CBC’s Mainstreet last week. Now, he’ll zero his focus in on his Gottingen Street ventures, The Seahorse, Marquee Ballroom and The Local.

“The final straw was tearing up the road this summer. I cannot survive with no business this summer, and I think it’s going to kill everyone on the street,” he says of the plans to kick start the Argyle Street streetscape project this summer. “They’ve put the nail in the coffin.”

They, Syperek says, are both the developer and the city, both of whom he says have been inconsiderate and then some.

“The entire schedule is wrapped around the convention centre and not the people who’ve been here for years,” he says. "I think the city could have been a lot more proactive in this whole thing." 

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