By Jacob Hoytema –
One of the best things about summertime in Kitchissippi is happening upon new favourite stores and restaurants while out for a “no-place-to-go” stroll in the sun. We’ve compiled a handy list of all the new spots you’ll want to check out next time you’re out and about.
In March, the Kitchissippi Times featured a story about how Cake and Shake, just north of the Parkdale Market on Armstrong St., was shutting down to be revived as a new collaboration with Ottawa coffee shop, Morning Owl. Two months later, the shop is finding its niche presenting the best products and atmosphere of both businesses — as owner Tommy Chan describes it, “it’s a ‘plus’ version of Morning Owl.” Mike Holland (who ran Cake and Shake) still supplies fan-favourites like brownies and cakes, working out of Morning Owl’s Rochester location. Besides bringing in the coffee machine, Tommy and the Morning Owl crew have revamped the interior, adding plants and modern decor. Tommy also teases that sundaes will soon be added to the menu.
Two doors down from Morning Owl on Armstrong is the Flamingo Boutique, a new “one-stop gift shop” from the owners of Kitchissippi-based ethical jewelry retailer Suzie Blue. The store’s beachy interior features numerous Suzie Blue products, as well as clothing, accessories, and fun gift items. Owner and founder Jo Arbuthnot says they chose the flamingo as a positive symbol to reference their company value that “beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.”
The Bambuu Shop (1130 Wellington St.W.) is a gift boutique that strikes a different tone. It’s a new venture of the chic Blue Panda Realty, housed in the same building (see the panda/bamboo connection?). While Bambuu began as a way for Blue Panda to remain in what is technically a retail zone, marketing director Megan Luciano ran with the idea of giving it a “bohemian” feel. The colourful urban decor is filled with clothing and housewares, and sells organic local popsicles.
Petites Poupées, an Ottawa-based girls’ fashion label, has opened its first permanent retail location in Viens Avec Moi (1338 Wellington St. W.). For years, the company had operated online to great international acclaim. Co-founder Geneviève Lima says their largest clientele was in California. Featured in British Vogue in 2016, Geneviève says that she is excited to showcase their “young, fresh and modern” products in their home town.
For grown-ups with a fancy taste, Valamode (1367 Wellington St. W.) is a luxury consignment store carrying brands like Luis Vuitton, Gucci, and Burberry. Owner Dia Shams has been running the business in pop-up shops around the city for months but is now ready to call Wellington Village her permanent home. Dia has designed the space to feel like a giant walk-in closet. Designer shoes, clothes and accessories fill the entire stretch of the narrow store.
Why not end a day of browsing the shops with a hearty dinner and something sweet? The Lexington Smokehouse & Bar, a restaurant with southern-inspired menu and hospitality, is opening in June. Located at the former location of Corner Bar & Grill in Westboro, owner Roc Strasbourg has installed garage doors along the facade to let in the warm weather on a sunny day. For a European-inspired dessert, Québec-based Les Moulins La Fayette is opening a location at 1000 Wellington St. W. in June.