Vegan butcher shop, Real Fake Meats is now open in Velo across from the Gottingen Street Library

I’m a little slow on this one but Ottotos, a local custom menswear store has opened in Spring Garden Place

The storefront for Panache Luxury Linens on Isleville is emptied out, no sign on door, no update on social media

Portland Estates indoor playground Amazing Land has closed its doors.

No panic if you are down at Bishops Landing A Mano is just having a renovation until mid February

The new The Old Apothecary has all the new plumbing and counters complete and is fully operational at 5151 Terminal Rd in the Emera building while the original The Old Apothecary on Barrington is now only the main floor.

The Lumbermart on Herring Cove Road begins a liquidation sale tomorrow as the are closing that location and merging with their Burnside location in Wright Avenue, Lucasville Road’s tool rental business The Tool Shed will also be moving to the Burnside Lumbermart

The Leon’s stores in both Coldbrook and Bridgewater both closed suddenly on Friday, with notes on the doors advising customers to contact the Dartmouth store with any outstanding issues

Also in Bridgewater, the Gow’s Home Furniture and the Gow’s Home Hardware are consolidating into a new building bordered by Dominion and High Street.
The Home Hardware at Eastside Plaza will be replaced by a Value Village

There were more restaurants, bars and cafes opening than closing in Halifax during 2018. By my count, 125 eating establishments and bars opened throughout the year while 78 closed.

According to Statistics Canada, there was a 5.7 per cent increase in the value of receipts at eating establishments and bars for the year ending in October, compared to the same period the year before in Nova Scotia, with a total of $1.68 billion dollars spent by consumers.

The big local story this year would have to be tied to the Smiling Goat. The cafe saw a new location open in The Maple on the corner of Sackville and Hollis streets earlier in the year, but that outlet has since closed. After that it was all downhill with allegations suppliers and landlords had not been reimbursed and employees not paid.

At years end there were two remaining Smiling Goat locations — South Park Street and Bishops Landing — which have been franchised off to new operators. The former Dartmouth location is now run by the folks at Kings Wharf and is called Cafe Marco Polo. The Spring Garden Road at Queen Street location has become Chimneys, a cafe specializing in Hungarian-style chimney cakes. The other Smiling Goat at Spring Garden Road and Carlton Street was reborn by the former employees as the LGBTQ+-embracing Glitter Bean Cafe.

Sticking with cafes, a Newfoundland chain, Coffee Matters, opened three metro locations. The first at the Brewery Market, followed by Gladstone Street and a third on Alderney Drive. Meanwhile, a storefront in Bedford owned by another Newfoundland chain, Jumping Bean, was converted to a second location for north end Halifax’s The Nook. Also of note for The Nook, it rolled out a social initiative in the form of a token program at the Gottingen Street location to help alleviate hunger in the neighbourhood.

Lower Sackville saw the arrival of Apartment 3 Espresso Bar, which brought a much needed local cafe to the area. Herring Cove Road gained the moveable Raven Espresso, which is housed in a converted, retro-camper trailer. Even the folks at Halifax Stanfield International Airport got in on the coffee trend. Locally-focused Connected Coffee is now housed in the departures area.

Another continuing trend was the arrival of craft-alcoholic producers opening storefronts. At the very end of 2017, Bedford welcomed the arrival of Off Track Brewing on Rocky Lake Road. Musquodoboit Harbour became home to Harbour Brewing Co. Dartmouth saw neighbours Brightwood Brewery and Lake City Cider open in the same building downtown on Portland Street and, just around the corner on Alderney Drive, New Scotland Brewing Co. opened its doors.

The Red Lunchbox, a vegan restaurant serving creative plant-based food, opened on Quinpool Road. However, seven weeks later it closed, earning itself the unenviable title of shortest lived restaurant this past year.

The Instagram-popular Vandals Doughnuts left a hole in the doughnut community when it closed up shop after one year inside Gus’ Pub and Grill on Agricola Street. The void will be short lived as there are already two new doughnut shops headed to north end Halifax this coming spring. The kitchen in Gus’ is now Taco Lina’s, helmed by the folks who brought us T-Dogs and Rinaldo’s.

Downtown Dartmouth saw the arrival of the instantly popular Cafe Good Luck, which offers an ever changing all-day brunch menu. Other quickly popular spots in town were Mexican-themed Antijo Tacos + Tequila on Argyle Street from the folks who brought us The Stubborn Goat on Grafton Street and The Exchange on Hollis Street. The Exchange is the Halifax version of the St. John’s Fish Exchange in Newfoundland.

There were some long standing Halifax restaurants that took a bow this year as we said goodbye to the likes of the quirky north end Dartmouth vegetarian Chinese restaurant, Liu’s Formosa Tea House. The Hydrostone lost long-time tenant Epicurious Morsels, but it was quickly replaced by The Ostrich Club. Woodside retired Hing Wing on Pleasant Street, and on Grafton Street in Halifax, Cheers faded away. That spot is being renovated and renamed as Roxbury Urban Dive Bar and Nomad Travel Bar. The notorious Ralph’s Place in Dartmouth closed for the final time, marking the end of strip clubs in Nova Scotia.

Halifax’s oldest sushi restaurant, Momoya, was converted to the karaage-focused Iron Rooster. Korean restaurant Young Pocha opened on Agricola Street and Tasty Fried Chicken opened on the Bedford Highway, continuing a trend towards deep-fried Asian foods.

Another trend in 2018 was towards baked goods. Halifax Bread Factory, which specializes in Middle Eastern flatbreads and treats, opened on Windmill Road in Dartmouth.

Carrying on the tradition of her grandmother’s Mary’s Bread Basket, Aly Mae’s Bread Basket opened in Woodside along with a few weekend tables at local farmer’s markets.

North End Halifax saw Dinah’s Sourdough open on Novalea Drive. Pekara Kitchen and Bakery opened a brick mortar store in Bedford this year after a few years in the farmer’s market circuit.

Hopefully the upward trend will continue in 2019.