The Hydrostone is a north end oasis of classy boutiques, eateries and galleries. With a gorgeous, tree-lined parkette just across the street, it’s a springtime consumer destination unparalleled on the peninsula. It’s about to get even more popular, as monolithic coffee corporation Starbucks is just about to open a new location in the new building at the corner of Kaye and Isleville. Start lining up now for that first Frappuccino.
5527 Young Street, 453-3063
A stroll through the Bogside will reveal a host of folk arts and crafts, jewellery and accessories, with standouts including photography and cards by Margot Metcalfe, Right Off the Batt pottery from PEI, porcelain and pottery work from Wendy Shirran, and a new collection of handbags from Cape Breton---designed by twin sisters Monique Delisle and Michelle Newcombe---called Michique.
The Lion’s Head
3081 Robie Street, 455-0181
This busy neighbourhood pub seems to have plenty of addresses, just off Robie but with access from Young and Sullivan Streets, it’s easy to find. Shoptalk enjoys the booths, the traditional pub decor, the dining area clocks giving time for Halifax, London, San Francisco, Hong Kong and, tellingly, Kandahar. Popular right now is an unusual splicing of Asian, Mediterranean and local delicacies: the donair egg roll. Yeah, you read that right. Get one for $1.99, $8.95 for five (sauce is extra) and surprise your taste buds.
5543 Young Street, 407-7700
On June 23 they’ll have been a year in the Hydrostone Market, and Little Europe is doing just fine, thanks very much. Days after a review of the stylish cafe appeared in The Coast, they coincidentally changed their menu, adding items including hummus and pita, traditional Dutch croquettes, the lamb-stuffed chicken leg and the roast-chicken wrap, formerly a sandwich, which is proving especially popular, says chef/manager/glorified dishwasher Anthony Vink. With the cafe surrounded by quick-service places, he wants to assure customers that just because Little Europe is a sit-down establishment, the food service is still rapid, with a second server now starting on Friday lunch. Also, the weekend brunch menu is about to be reshuffled, so stop in soon between 10am-4pm on Saturdays and Sundays to check it out.
Almanac Antiques Books and Records
2820 Isleville Street, 455-1141
Just down Isleville, close to Almon, is the still-new location of Almanac Antiques, which moved last year from its longtime spot at the corner of Windsor and Almon. The new space is large, but owners Lisa and Michael Isaac have it crammed full of furniture, kitchen and housewares of all sorts, allowing only narrow crevasses through the store to see everything on display. You’ll find stereo equipment and shelves full of vinyl---Shoptalk makes a mental note of the Beatles, Neil Young, Marvin Gaye, Grateful Dead and the Village People records for future purchasing. “It’s taken our regular customers awhile to find us,” says Lisa, remarking that the Isleville location is a bit of a side street, but she’s thrilled that her family business has been able to take root in its new home. “The support is phenomenal, thanks to all our friends and family, otherwise known as customers.”
5533 Young Street, 423-4499
Besides having fresh and new furniture and house products (check out Vancouver-based Dream Designs’ hemp and organic cotton linens), henhouse is also packing in a lot of deck, garden and exterior home items these days, or so furniture finisher Lauren Innes explains when Shoptalk puts her on the spot. “Baskets, lamps, planters and bistro chairs for a patio or a cottage,” she says, adding that two new bath lines, Rocky Mountain and Tokyo Milk, are also very popular at the moment.
5555 Sullivan Street, 423-2541
Found just on the corner of Isleville and Sullivan, in the shadow of the Oland Brewery, Total Kneads offers practically everything you can think of to feel better. You’re feeling OK? Really? Wouldn’t a massage right now be amazing? How about some colon hydrotherapy? As Sarah Jessica Parker said in LA Story, it really clears your head. You may also benefit from cranio sacral work, detox packages, reflexology, reiki, yoga and much more; all services found in-house.
5530 Kaye Street, 802-7470
Opposite the Hydrostone Market, the Hydrostone Cafe has been open since February 1, offering Laughing Whale and Java Blend coffee, locally baked biscotti and other treats---Gingerbread Haus and Boulangerie la Vendeenne are suppliers---as well as sandwiches, samosas and soups, with free wifi and a cup of joe on the house every weekend until further notice, or “when Starbucks opens,” says owner Patrick Doherty. This is his first venture as a cafe owner, though previously he worked in craft service---food prep---in the film business. He wants folks to know there are vegetarian and vegan options available, local artists can show their work on his cafe walls---Jason Hickman has paintings up right now--- and he’s looking for someone to host a semi-regular open-mic night in the space. Hours are, tentatively at this point, 7am-7pm, seven days a week.