Wednesday, December 09, 2015


I confess, when I found out my brother-in-law was getting into the tonic water business, my reaction was "ooooookay. Sure." And then he named it Third Place Tonic, which is weird thing to call your product, but ok (there's a story behind it, honest).

I did not see the demand for high end artisanal tonic water. I'm pretty sure the last time I had tonic water was in Sri Lanka when a group of us went on a quest to find some to use with the rather large bottle of gin we'd acquired.

Then again, I'm not much of a drinker. Or entrepreneur, apparently. Because Danny has been having just a wee bit of success with it, judging by this CBC story and this story from the Overcast. Oh, and here's their website.

Now, ordinarily getting some positive write-ups in the local press doesn't mean success. Except everything I've heard says they can't keep the stuff in stock. They bring it to some high end restaurants in town and it sells out. They bring it to a few cafes in town and it sells out in days. I have friends who have tried it and are converted to the religion. I have another friend in San Francisco who is desperate to try and get a few bottles.

So maybe this is a thing. I've been away from Newfoundland for 10 years. The place has obviously changed. I'm still floored any time I read articles in national publications discussing St. John's food scene as one of the best in Canada. So high end tonic water is now a thing.

And, you know, good on him. This is probably the third most interesting thing that's happened to Danny this year, what with the birth of his first daughter (and my first niece) Charlie, and also becoming seriously ill last summer. So if the good news and bounce back from a rough summer is in the form of expensive tonic water, more power to him.

While it's not tonic water, we have our own new business opening in Iqaluit that has people excited. A new restaurant is opening, well, any day now. And of all the kinds of restaurants that could open here in town that I think would be successful - fish and chips, Italian, Indian, etc - I would not have picked barbecue. And yet, Big Racks Barbecue is gearing up to open. It's eagerly anticipated, to say the least. I have at least one friend who is going to kick in the front door and demand ribs if they don't open up pretty soon.

I'll let you know if it's any good as soon as we try the place out. New restaurants are rare beasts in Iqaluit. Other than some food trucks (oh, and Starbucks), I think the last new restaurant to open in town was Yummy Shawarma, and that's been open for at least three years now.

Entrepreneurship is not something I think I'd ever be particularly good at. Too risk adverse, I suspect. Although I was oddly spit-balling a few ideas if I ever felt the urge to blow my life saving and Cathy lost her mind and let me do it.

First idea is a pet store. Not one that sells cats and dogs, although I would work with the local shelter. But a store that sold decent pet food and supplies, and maybe had some pets like fish, birds, hamsters, etc. Of course, I'd have to check to see if you could ever bring those kinds of pets into Nunavut. I vaguely recall the Government of Nunavut having laws against bringing non-native species into the territory. I think they turn a benign blind eye to it, as there are certain plenty of cats, and some hamsters, ferrets and other critters. And while Shih Tzus are technically dogs it's hard to look at them in quite the same way you would look at a husky.

So yeah, I think it could do ok, actually, if you could overcome some of the logistical challenges of getting certain things like goldfish here safely.

Second idea is a proper bakery. NorthMart has one, but it's very bland. There's I Like Cake, but they sell mostly, well, cake, cupcakes and cookies. I mean a place that sells bread, bagels, croissants...that sort of thing. Something like Georgetown Bakery in St. John's. God, I miss that place.

My plan involves flying back to Newfoundland and kidnapping four grandmothers, maybe stop off on the way back in Quebec and grab a couple from there, and then bring them here and let them bake up a storm. Old fashion three-bun loaves of bread like your nan used to make. I'd even call the place Nan's Bakery. Oh, and throw in some bannock for good measure.

You'd be fighting people off with sticks. You start selling hot, fresh out of the over homemade bread up here and you would do quite well.

Anyway, if anyone wants to steal one of those idea, go right ahead. I'll certainly give you my money...

Last Five
1. Star witness - Neko Case*
2. Bad blood - Post Modern Jukebox featuring Aubrey Logan
3. Field behind the plow (live) - Stan Rogers
4. Water in hell - Broken Social Scene
5.  The ocean (live) - Tegan and Sara

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