A perfect vault

Sarah Smellie—bold and noble, with a nutty finish.

Karl approved
Since their official opening at 291 Water Street on August 10th, St. John’s newest fine dining establishment, The Vault, has been packed every night, much to the elation of general manager and co-owner, Cyndi Lundrigan.

Lundrigan, along with co-owner and executive chef Gregory Bersinski, have been planning their restaurant since last October. Construction began in April and, according to Lundrigan, it “took an extra month to get it to exactly where we wanted it to be.”

This meticulous care and attention to detail has certainly paid off—local foodie Karl Wells gave the Vault a rating of a perfect 10. Although the meal was not exactly inexpensive—he and a friend did spend $251.33 on the food, wine, and tip—it is a rating he has only given once before. (The Japanese fusion restaurant, Basho, has that honour.)

Lundrigan and Bersinski, both St. John’s residents, are hoping to fill the need for high-end dining establishments in the city while keeping things as local as possible. Bersinksi uses local seafood and game, and gets a lot of his vegetables from the Organic Farm in Portugal Cove. The Vault also has their own garden where they grow herbs, lettuce and edible flowers.

After 11pm, the Vault transforms into a champagne bar, where you can try a pinot noir Spanish cava, their increasingly popular specialty, or have a glass of any of the wines on their wine list without having to purchase the bottle—a definite bonus. Given that the Vault is the first restaurant in St. John’s to have a sommelier on staff (someone who is paid to know way more than you about wine), you might want to head down and take advantage of this fine policy.

There’s no place like home
After a temporary relocation to 152 Water Street, the Anna Templeton Center is moving back to their home base at 278 Duckworth, in the old British Bank of North America building. The Center had to temporarily set up shop on Water Street to make way for massive building renovations at their Duckworth location—including a new addition and an amazing rooftop deck around back. The Duckworth site hadn’t had much done to it in the way of maintenance since it was first renovated back in 1992 when the Anna Templeton Center first moved in.

Home of the College of the North Atlantic’s Textile Studies program and all sorts of other craft and art classes, things will commence on schedule for the fall back in the newly-fluffed-up nest.

Here’s to a smooth landing!

Hold your horses
What would Duckworth Street be without that duct-taped horse outside the Newfoundland Saddlery?

Not only is the horse a fine piece of craftsmanship and a testament to the versatility of duct tape, but it’s a great landmark for giving directions to lost tourists in search of “that street with all the bars.”

Unfortunately, it seems the mighty steed has been retired from its perpetual rearing outside 383 Duckworth Street. An ominous sign in the Saddlery window indicates an indefinite closure.

Stay tuned for details.

Rezoning
Zone 216 is back in business after a rather abrupt and inopportune closure on Pride Week earlier this summer. According to Fabian Fitzpatrick, the Water Street gay bar is expected to reopen Thursday, August 30th, pending the completion of their renovations.

“We are undergoing a decor and lighting makeover with the help of designer Barry Buckle,” Fabian says, describing the new look as more urban and edgy.

This year marks the club’s 14th year at 216 Water Street.

Even better news: the previously postponed, highly anticipated Drag Idol 5 will take place Sunday, September 2nd at 11pm.

(While on the topic: Last column I wrote that DJ Fabian would be the DJ on Nouvelle Orleans’ “G-Boat”, but this was wrong. …Wrong! I’m sorry for the confusion.

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