24-hour party people

Guy Quenneville browses for business news.

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Lovers of 24-hour restaurant service will be united in their grief as the closing of The Apple Barrel at 1726 Grafton finally sinks in. The long-standing downtown staple closed its doors last Monday and no one was more disappointed than the restaurant’s owner of 10 years, Bryan Bridgemohan. “The drop in our sales last year was drastic,” says Bridgemohan. “It really wasn’t worth keeping open.” He says a number of reasons exist for the restaurant’s decline. For a start, there are simply too many downtown bars and restaurants competing for such a small number of potential customers. “After five o’clock, there’s isn’t much of a draw for people downtown if they’re not at work,” he says. Bridgemohan also mentions declining attendance at Mooseheads games as having a negative impact on his restaurant’s business. But while The Apple Barrel may be closed, Bridgemohan is not ready to give up yet. “I’m opening a new restaurant in the same location,” he says. “It will be called The Candy Apple Cereal Bar and 24-Hour Restaurant.” Similar to other buffets, the cereal bar will allow customers to combine up to three different kinds of cereals in containers Bridgemohan compares to Chinese-food boxes. Fruit toppings will also be available. Bridgemohan says the new restaurant is slated to open on March 1, after the space undergoes renovations for the first time in 20 years—something The Apple Barrel was in need of. “We’re keeping the restaurant as a 24-hour establishment because we know how to do it well,” he says.

Stone’s throw

Michel Therrien and his partner Catherine MacDonald are busy getting ready for the opening of their new restaurant, Stonehaven, at 5244 Blowers. The restaurant, which will be offering several wild-game dishes such as venison, rabbit and wild boar alongside local favourites such as lobster, is scheduled to open March 1. Therrien, a Parisian-style, French-taught chef of 35 years, was doing contract work in Sydney before he walked down Blowers and saw the vacant premises, the former home of Syn, Caverns and La Cave. “I love this location,” says Therrien, who will be the restaurant’s main chef, “especially the inside, with all of the original rocks on the wall that survived the Halifax Explosion.” That said, one thing immediately came to mind when he saw inside the building, “There were a lot of closed-in booths, which I don’t really like. Stonehaven will be more open concept, so that you can see all of the other diners while you are enjoying your wine. I’m going for a rustic feel.” Therrien is also a pastry chef and says he can make cheesecakes in 110 different flavours. But if cheesecake isn’t your thing, don’t worry, “There will be a very big variety of desserts available, too,” he says.

A pet above

Petworks (formerly the Woodlawn Veterinary Hospital), which that provides “advanced care for best friends,” recently moved into a newly constructed 15,000-square-feet facility at 850 Portland in Dartmouth. So what kind of advanced care can customers expect at the new premises? Well, a quick survey of the hospital’s newly available services will give you a pretty good idea. Recently added to the regular veterinary-clinic services are ultrasound and advanced-imaging equipment (with same-day results), a dental and endoscopy suite, and an underwater treadmill for canine rehabilitation. This is all in addition to the services provided by the clinic for the past 25 years, which include dog and cat daycare, dog-training programs, pet grooming and pet photography, in which dogs can be included in family portraits. You can contact the hospital at 425-2444.

Heroine experience

Heroine, the downtown clothing store and carrier of all-Canadian designs located at 1656 Granville, closed its doors two weeks ago. “We ended an era with heroines toasting with champagne seven-and-a-half good years of fun and amazing Canadian fashion,” store owner Jody Manley announced in a press release. “This wasn’t a decision of choice but rather the Roy building has been sold and there are no renewals of retail leases.” Rest assured the store will be back in another location, says Manley, and as soon as we know where, we’ll pass the info along.

Dooly noted

Dooly’s ProShop at 1651 Barrington (on the Barrington side of the Roy building) has also had its lease expire, and will be moving to a new location this spring. Denis Boudreau, manager of the Barrington premises, says ProShop owners have been told by the owner of the building that they must leave before the end of April. There’s no word yet on where Dooly’s will move to, or on what retailers might move into the Dooly’s space on Barrington. Stay tuned. (490-0001)

Mall watch

Sea of Love in Scotia Square Mall is now closed while, around the corner, renovations are finished in the food court. The former home of the Nova Scotia Liquor Commission was renovated to create more space near the food court, also giving diners a much better view of local sushi slingers You and Me....Halifax Shopping Centre is undergoing major renovations, including improvements to flooring, added lighting, a major facelift for the food court and added washroom facilities. Mall administrators also say five new stores will be opening in the mall by June. There are no official announcements yet, but we’ll keep an eye out to let you mallers know.

Holla at a maller. Email to: shoptalk@thecoast.ca

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