On The Move

Friday, February 17, 2017

Gingergrass takes a hiatus

Saturday marks the last meals at Morris and Barrington before the restaurant moves

Posted By on Fri, Feb 17, 2017 at 3:50 PM

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It's been 10 years since Nira Nugroho opened Gingergrass Thai and Vietnamese at 1284 Barrington Street, but she says it doesn't feel nearly that long ago. Tomorrow marks the restaurant's last day at the corner of Morris and Barrington though, a move spawned by the re-negotiation of her lease when its term was ending.

"The lease negotiation didn’t go the way the either side wanted it to," says Nugroho, adding that with a proposed 97 percent increase her business would have been impossible to maintain. "If I continued the way I work here, closing some days and between lunch and supper, the annual increase would represent 80 percent of my profit."

She's adamant that this isn't a closure though—Gingergrass is relocating, and she's in the process of solidifying a new place to call home. Her preference, she says, is to stay in the downtown area.

"I see it as an opportunity to make some changes and I’m so ready to move on," says Nugroho, who sings the praises of her neighbours and regular customers who've been supportive of the transition. "This will give me time off to decide what direction I'll take with the restaurant. When one door closes, a good one can open."

The move gives Nugroho the chance for a total fresh start, and with this in mind she'll be donating all of her current furniture and equipment to Ark Outreach and the Moncton chapter of Habitat for Humanity. After serving Gingergrass' last meals tomorrow, preparations will begin to move out of the building February 28. She says she'll keep curious diners posted on her progress and new location via the restaurant's website and Facebook page.

"It seems like just yesterday for me because 10 years passes so quickly, says Nugroho. "But I'm going to do it all over again, except this time with experience."

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Tom's and The Fireside are headed for Birmingham Street

All of your Halifax bar nostalgia in one place

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 4:41 PM

Tom's Little Havana has set the bar as a primo watering hole - PHOTO BY SAMSON LEARN
  • Tom's Little Havana has set the bar as a primo watering hole
  • photo by Samson Learn

Regulars of both Tom's Little Havana (5428 Doyle Street) and The Fireside (1500 Brunswick Street) have been losing sleep lately knowing that both bars would be uprooted come this fall. After years of rumours, the construction of a new development on the Spring Garden/Queen/Doyle/Brunswick block is finally coming to fruition, meaning all of its businesses will be closing or moving—and the thought of a downtown Halifax without a Tom's or a Fireside was a frightening one for many. After fending off an endless stream of "what's going to happen"s from patrons, today co-owner of both bars Lynne Ferguson was delighted to announce they're moving together, just a block away, to the Birmingham Street entrance of City Centre Atlantic. (That's 1535 Dresden Row, but think Premier Wine and Spirits' former location.)

Ferguson says it won't have that "mall entrance" feeling anymore, though. "When you walk into those doors, it’ll be more Tom's," she says. "You'll be walking into Tom's, and The Fireside will be on the right, in the old Premier location." The two bars will share a kitchen and washrooms, but be separate from each other, Tom's will take over the current Top Cuts space and the salon will move to another spot within the mall. "They were terrific about the move because Tom’s was going to be there," Ferguson laughs.

In early May, Tom's put out an online survey looking for the public's thoughts on a new location and the Spring Garden area was a winner over both Barrington Street and the north end. "We just have a ton of regulars and they drive us. On snow days and Sundays they just keep coming," says Ferguson of why patrons got a say on the new spot. "It was important for it to be close by. We’re creatures of habit. I think it was also important to continue being just a little out of the way, off to the side of the main street."

The next generation of Tom's and The Fireside is scheduled to open for October 1. In response to the major public concern—how the heck will they transport the dark, intimate and nostalgic Tom's vibe elsewhere??—Ferguson says a little wallpaper, wood panelling and tablecloths can go a long way. "I hate to say it but I think it’s going to be easy. It’s really the people that make the vibe at Tom's," she says. "It's a little bit the look, but mostly the people. It’ll be fun to see the new Tom's and cry about the old Tom's together"

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