Cover issue 106

Cover photo of cyclist Matt Reynolds by Eliot Wright. You can read about Reynolds’ Bike the Street program here.

19 May 2010

  1. Townie1 · May 19, 2010

    Great place! Fresh food, good service and not bad coffee. Waiting to see what else they bring to the table!

  2. SLK · May 19, 2010

    A great find!! Sort of like Sprout/ with meat and different decore. Friendly staff…excellent, simple food (the iced tea is real iced tea). Have lunch and then a walk around the lake…perfect!

  3. CFA · May 19, 2010

    Got to say excellent place! nothing bad to say what so ever…….. Perfection!!!

  4. ps · May 19, 2010

    love this place. cheap quick fresh and filling! the homemade bread and desserts are soso good.

  5. Jenna · May 19, 2010

    Have been there twice so far. Once for tea and a treat, and another time for a delicious supper. By far one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve had in St. John’s in years. Thanks!

  6. freddychef · May 19, 2010

    been going here since it opened….great coffee, ambiance, and like some others waiting to see what they can do with the menu….a little limiting right now but all in all an added addition in a cool location–was it not a funeral home??!!

  7. East End Boy · May 19, 2010

    Nice little addition to the East downtown area! Great service, ambiance, coffee and food; not sure if they are still cash only (no debit). Someone not carrying cash could be caught off-guard.

  8. Brandon · May 19, 2010

    My girlfriend and I went to Gracie Joe’s on a Saturday afternoon. This was one of our worst dining experiences ever in St. John’s. There were only two other tables filled and the service was absolutely terrible. Despite there being at least five staff, maybe more. At least three of these were waiters. We waited at least 20 minutes for our meal. After getting my order completely wrong (there are only two sandwiches and you got the wrong one!), they offered me the correct order but I wasn’t interested in waiting another 20 minutes. We waited for at least ten minutes to get asked if we wanted dessert. We even got up to look at the desserts. Finally we just gave up. The whole time the waiters just looked at us even though we were clearly finished. No discount was offered on the incorrect order. Besides all this, the food was ok at best. Not even close to other similar places like Sappho’s or Simplicity. Neither of us would ever return. So-so food. Disgraceful service.

  9. NKK · May 19, 2010

    Been here several times, because it’s so good. Excellent, friendly service. Delicious food which is always consistently good. I highly recommend it and there is free parking down the street in the lot just before the Belbin’s customer parking lot.

  10. Moo · May 19, 2010

    Wow! Lovely space, lovely service, beautiful and most edible eats! I will return often, and with friends.

  11. anon3 · May 19, 2010

    don’t let this one review set you off. nobody’s perfect. they must have had a bad day, or new staff, or something. seriously, been there tons. these are not legitimate critiques of the continued experience.

    also, no one has mentioned the secret. there is one special thing you can do here that you can’t do elsewhere. don’t write it down if you figure it out, but the hint is: like you can do in Quebec. Please do not tell, it’s the best restaurant secret in St. john’s.

  12. piglet · May 19, 2010

    We’ve just had one of the best feeds ever at Gracie Joe’s. We shared a spinach and goat-cheese salad as a starter, which was very nice indeed. Then we had the special of the day, which was Moroccan lamb-shanks, and was absolutely out of this world, so much so that my husband said it was possibly the best thing he’s ever eaten …

    Please put it on the regular menu – it was to die for. :)

    The only thing that could possibly have improved it would have been a glass or two of wine – the sooner you get a table licence the better!

  13. Smoot · May 19, 2010

    Had a late lunch there today with a girlfriend, and the food is really great, the prices are amazing, and the atmosphere is really homey. It was a first visit for us, and while we’ll both be back, the waitress we had was *terrible*. We were the only two people in the restaurant, and she could barely be bothered to tend on us. We had to ask for refills three times before we got them, had to go up to the counter to ask for dessert, and she rolled her eyes when I asked if I could have a new glass (because the one I was drinking out of had a massive crack down one side).

  14. Stumper · May 19, 2010

    We went there on Sunday the 4th for brunch – two adults and two small children. Our main complaint is that it took over an hour to get our food. You could constantly overhear the cook apologizing for how long everything was taking. He was probably doing his best, but it is such a small food preparation area and he was the only cook. That being said, it’s a great place to go for brunch if you don’t mind waiting an hour and you don’t have things to do or places to go. You’re not going to “grab a bite to eat” there. That being said, the food was good when it finally arrived, but there’s no way we can take a chance on going there again and waiting an hour. Luckily our kids were very patient. If you’re running a restaurant, you should be able to reliably serve food in the 20 to 40 minute time period. They’re probably great as a cafe, but they simply don’t have the kitchen capacity to be serving the kind of meals they’re trying to serve. They would have done us a great favour if they had told us beforehand that it would be an hour before we got our food. We would have turned around and went elsewhere. While we were there, another party got up from their tables and left without getting their food, they were so annoyed and hungry. Gracie Joes looks like a nice place, I like their food, and they’re probably a great asset to their neighbourhood, but they have to make some important decisions ASAP about what they can and can’t do as a food service establishment – either that or find a way to simplify the menu or speed up the food service.

  15. Jewbag · May 19, 2010

    I have eaten here twice now. The first time we were lucky enough to be able to bring our own wine and pay the corking fee. My husband and I enjoyed a fantastic dinner outside on a warm summer evening. I ordered the goat cheese appetizer and the tenderloin as my main. It was great and so was the service! And you really can’t beat $24 for tenderloin!!! I really can’t remember what my husband ordered (I was way face and eyes into my own meal!!), but he thouroughly enjoyed his as well.
    I went there again last night, as I was trying to think of places to go where we could sit outdoors. The staff were kind enough to reserve an outdoor table for us (most places in town treat their outdoor seating as first come first serve…so annoying). The food was great, again! All three of us cleaned our plates. I ordered the steak (again!) and it was slightly different from the first time I had it, and cooked to perfection. The service was very good, maybe a tad on the slower side, but we were not bothered by that as we were having a relaxing evening.

    The only downfall of last nights experience is that they have stopped the “bring your own wine” policy and they are apparently in the process of getting a liquor license. I’m sure it’s no fault of theirs, but a shame nonetheless.
    Also, the cash only policy is semi annoying.

  16. TemporaryBeauty · May 19, 2010

    Drat! No more BYOB??
    Oh well….coffee is awesome.

  17. JJ · May 19, 2010

    Here’s a hidden gem. Gracie Joe’s doesn’t look like much from the outside. Inside, you’ll be surprised. Trendy and quirky, this restuarant has tons of character and feels more like a secluded art gallery. The chefs are talented and the menu appealing. My favourite dish there, hands down, is the curried stuffed roasted red pepper. It looks and tastes beautiful. Unbelievably delicious!

    I find the service, however, quite average and only marginally better during the evening. Wait times are usually longer than they should be. I’ve eaten there a dozen times, and this has been my colelctive experience.

    During the day there’s the option to sit outside. You can ignore the view of the Peninentiary and just enjoy dining al fresco in the sunshine! In winter, Gracie Joe’s can be a little cold inside, particularly at the far end of the room.

    Be warned, they only accept cash here, which is a pain in the arse and also makes me wonder why they don’t get a basic debit/credit terminal. They also don’t have a professional looking website yet, which is puzzling at a time when these are the basics. But in the end, what matters most is the tasty, tasty food.

  18. EastEnd · May 19, 2010

    “sort of like sprout with meat and different decore”

    So, in other words, it’s not like the sprout. lol.

  19. Blackstrap · May 19, 2010

    I’m 99% sure that “bring your own bottle” service does not exist in Newfoundland because it breaks our liquor laws in a big way…

    GJ’s must have given it up because they realized/heard why nobody else was doing it and they corrected their mistake. It’s either that or somebody told them to stop immediately stop the practice.

  20. margie · May 19, 2010

    In visiting St.John’s I introduced this wonderful quaint cafe with a great big 5 star rating to my sister.We had the fish cakes and spinach salad which had just the right amount of ingredients to make them PERFECT!!!!!!
    This cafe is a real FIND in the city!!
    Do not believe any negative reviews about this place.
    It reminds me of a European cafe where you can sit and enjoy to your heart’s content.
    Starbucks, stand aside, the new best coffee latte can be found here!!!

  21. skamy · May 19, 2010

    I’ve gone to Gracie Joe’s twice, once for a late lunch and once for brunch (today!). The first time I went with three friends and everyone agreed that it was nothing to write home about. We tried two different soups, and each had the veggie burger with side salads. It was good but not outstanding – would have liked to see a little more flavour, as it was more of a veggie sandwich than anything I would consider a burger. Portions were pretty small. Service was really great though, and our food was quick.
    I really want to like this place because I like to support small businesses and I like what they are trying to do, so I decided to go back again today. I think it will be great in time, but they definitely have a few kinks to work out.
    Today, for instance, there was one server working. The place was completely full and a line in the porch. She was absolutely excellent (I think her name was Stacy) but obviously one person can only do so much. She was actually managing this crazy rush quite well, but there were at least three people working in the kitchen area and our breakfasts (for 2) took well over 35 minutes. I can’t understand why it would take that long for an eggs benedict with peameal bacon, hashbrowns, and fruit garnish and an order of banana nut french toast with maple syrup. Everything was DELICIOUS but they need to work on efficiency in the kitchen. Coffee was excellent. I wasn’t offered any pepper or salt, which the hashbrowns desperately needed, they were just like fried potatoes and hardly seasoned at all. The food was definitely worth the wait but I don’t know how often I’ll be going back if it’s going to take 40 minutes for a simple breakfast for two. My suggestion would be to reduce the number of tables – I think the kitchen area they have isn’t sufficient for the number of tables. Or have more wait staff on, or streamline kitchen operations.

  22. Michael · May 19, 2010

    Had a great time here. The Food was delicious, the prices were good, and I enjoyed the quaint atmosphere. Will be returning here for sure!