Stairway to heaven

T.C. Demaresq browses for business news.

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Well, not exactly, but the new staircase connecting the Seahorse to the Economy Shoe Shop is now operational, with a grand opening scheduled for later this month. “The Seahorse will become more of an extension of the Shoe Shop,” says Argyle Cobblers general manager Gord Lapp. “It will be yet another place to wander when you’re at the Shoe Shop.” In preparation for the link between the two, the Seahorse has experienced somewhat of a facelift, with new furniture, fancier decor and complete kitchen renovations. The Seahorse will feature a full menu, including a lot of the specials from upstairs, as well as some new items and the infamous Marquee pizza. “I wouldn’t call upscale tavern,” says Lapp, “but I wouldn’t call it a tavern menu either. It’s sort of a tavern menu but in keeping with Shoe Shop style.” The new Seahorse (Shoehorse?) will also see a change in its entertainment lineup, expanding its focus from a punk and metal core to embrace a wide variety of genres including jazz and singer/songwriter. “The metal band thing, it’s not that we’re not going to do it, but we’re going to broaden the program,” says Lapp. “I’m not being really specific because we’re not exactly sure what the long term will hold.”

Lapp it up

Gord Lapp himself is evolving, and will make the shift next week from general manager of Argyle Cobblers to executive director of the Music Industry Association of Nova Scotia. “I’ll leave with one hat on and arrive at the next show with another hat on,” says Lapp. “I’m very excited about that. Music has been the common denominator for virtually every one of my very assorted adult careers, from events and bars to food and beverage.”

Berry tasty clothes

Banana Berry Clothing is now open at 1584 Argyle. Owner Bethanna Briffett says she’s always been interested in fashion in Halifax, and hopes her new store will provide more options for fashion-hungry Haligonians. Briffett says her stock will range from casual to dressy, and Banana Berry will also feature glass jewellery and felted bags. Briffett has spent the last several years working in the film industry, primarily in wardrobe. The store feels like a logical extension of her career. “It’s another arm of the whole wardrobe, fashion, clothes type thing,” says Briffett. “It all intermingles.” As for the name, it’s been with Briffett since childhood, when her nickname was Bethanna Banana.

Say it ain’t so

Rumours circulated last weekend about the potential closure of long-time Gottingen Street favourite, Bob & Lori’s Food Emporium. Bob & Lori’s, owned and operated by Bob and Lori Trenaman, has been a much-adored north end neighbourhood restaurant for numerous years, serving an array of healthy, homemade breakfasts and lunches, with special focus on vegan and vegetarian options. Upon hearing the rumour, a number of loyal patrons expressed their distress over the possible closure on a local online forum: “What, no more B&L curry dahl? No more extra thick chocolate chip cookies? My day has officially been ruined.” “Their cookies RULED. The granola—amazing. Tofu sandwiches—best ever. And their Caesar salads slayed. Loved the garlic scent of a Bob & Lori’s lunch special.” “I used to live on Gottingen, just a few doors away. Some mornings I’d just go there in my housecoat and slippers for coffee and an oatcake. I’ve done it at the Irving on Robie, but somehow it just isn’t the same.” At press time sources were saying the restaurant would stay open, but perhaps with fewer hours and a smaller menu. Shop Talk wishes them well, and hopes that everything works out for the best.

Standing behind their name

Pitchman’s Pub & Eatery is now called Maguire’s Celtic Tavern, and owners Dave and Janette Maguire say the new name is emblematic of the pub’s new focus. “In the past we’ve had three strong areas of business, but they’ve never been what I would call complementary,” says Dave. “We’ve got a strong food business, we’ve got a very strong groups and events business and then a strong late-night bar business. But the three never really complemented each other.” Maguire cites a clash of cultures, as the early-bird crowd of corporate patrons came face-to-face with hard partying university students. To better service this first group, Maguire’s will feature “live Maritime bands that play the good, recognizable music that you can sing along and dance to”—as opposed to Pitchman’s DJs. The menu will also undergo a slight change, as Maguire’s adds some “upscale” items to its repertoire of pub fare. As for the name, “The reason we chose the name,” says Maguire, “is it is our family name and we wanted to be more authentic and put our true family name on it because it’s just more genuine and those are some of the values that we want to encapsulate more as we go forward.”

This ’n’ that

The Atlantic Film Festival is blocking off Argyle Street for a massive opening night party on September 15, involving every bar and restaurant from Prince to Sackville. ... The Cavern Bistro and Wine Bar will be closed for renovations until October. Stay tuned for updates.

Bob & Lori's updates? Email: shoptalk@thecoast.ca.

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