For those who liked Fattoush Cafe on Gladstone which closed a year or so ago. Fattoush more of restaurant style is coming to The Boss Plaza just off Dutch Village Rd in Fairview.

Also coming to The Boss Plaza is the third location for Korean restauarant Backoo’s the new location expected this spring also plans to have their own makgeolli (a milky sparkling rice wine) on draught

Spryfield now has a Sushi restaurant, Sushi Cove has opened on the main stretch at 355 Herring Cove Rd.

Taco Lina’s has ended their time inside of Gus’ Pub, they are hoping to resurface soon in a new location

A sign has gone up to confirm the coming arrival of Five Guys to Bayers Lake

When looking back at 2019 retail and restaurant activity, what stands out to me is that the food service side of things continues to grow with almost double the number of restaurant openings compared to closures in the past year.

I’d say the biggest growth would be in international food with a few izakaya  inspired spaces such as Kanpai Izakaya on Dresden Row and Kyo Kitchen & Bar on Barrington Street opening in Halifax. There were of course new sushi, Chinese, and pan-asian noodle shops.More dumpling shops, including Backoos Korean Food To Go finally coming to Tacoma Drive in Dartmouth, more Filipino and even a cheap and cheerful Indian takeout called Adda in the basement of Spring Garden Place.

We also saw the arrival of Syrian ice cream at Booza Emessa and Ethiopian food at Ali’s Place. North end Halifax saw the arrival of simple taqueria at Tako Loko Mexican Restaurant on Isleville Street.

Some other notable entrants that gave a good impression right from the start are:  Julep on Barrington Street, The Stillwell Freehouse on Agricola Street, Almonak on Almon Street, Chocolate Hackers at the deep northern end of Robie Street, Brawta Jamaican Jerk Joint on Grafton Street, The Ville Caffeine Bar on the corner of Sackville and Hollis streets, Real Fake Meats on Gottingen Street, Sourwood Cider on Cornwallis Street and Side Hustle Snack Bar inside the new North Brewing Co. on Portland Street in Dartmouth.

There were a few chains that also opened to immediate fanfare with The Keg opening a Dartmouth Crossing location, Pur & Simple at Penhorn Plaza in Dartmouth, Papa John’s at Mill Cove in Bedford, and the first Atlantic Canada location of Five Guys on Argyle Street.

On the retail side, for the first year in eight that I have been tracking 2019 had more retail closures in metro than openings but only by a small margin.

I do track it as storefronts, so the count is up due to the collapse or consolidation of national chains, for example Bouclair and Payless meant three store closures each. Ardene closed two stores as did Gymboree. While chains Forever 21 and Paderno no longer operate stores in Canada, those are more telling about the state of mass retail in Canada in general than it is about the retail climate in Halifax.

Most of the excitement on the retail side was also tied to chain stores, with Levi’s, Columbia Sportswear and Under Armour all opening outlet stores in Dartmouth Crossing. Giant Tiger opened a new store in Bayers Lake and right next door Canada Computers.  Halifax Shopping Centre saw the arrival of retailers like Squish Candies, Cazza Petites, and Mountain Warehouse.

We even saw the rare arrival of new large format grocery store with the long awaited arrival of Sobeys to the Timberlea community.
The other delightful trend that falls more under retail activity is the resurgence of the video arcade. Silverball Games opened in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford, and across the street at Bedford Place Mall there is the recent arrival Galaxy 51. Propeller Brewing has also turned the lower level in its Gottingen Street shop in to the Propeller Arcade and The Pint on Argyle Street has opened its basement as Pubcade.

Ryan Duffy’s Steak and Seafood closed its doors this year as did Smith’s Bakery on Agricola Street in Halifax.  Dean’s Flowers celebrated its 100th anniversary earlier in the year but wrapped its last bouquet in the fall. Even decade-long furniture spots The Futon Store on Young Street and Dartmouth’s Wyse Buys closed their storefronts.

Early 2020 will mark the disappearance of The Newfoundland Store on Willow Street and downtown Halifax will lose Sievert’s Tobacco.
Lowe’s is also closing some of its Rona stores and while they have carried different names over the years the locations on Cole Harbour Road and Windmill Road have been continuous hardware stores since the 1970s

While this was only a brief review, I look forward to what 2020 will bring to the Halifax area. Here is hoping someone brings me some of my wish list: quick serve soup dumplings, shumai and gourmet corn dogs.

Whatever is ahead of us I’ll be here to tell you about it.

This is an interesting new resource if you are looking for places that are non drinking friendly, more than just offering say pop and water as an option and other resources if you are trying to embrace an alcohol free lifestyle