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Voyages: The 244

Voyages: The 244

On the corner of Gottingen and Cornwallis stands The 244, a quaint little takeout place that aims to feed the neighborhood with simple, laid-back comfort food. The name is a nod to the address of a restaurant called the French Casino that stood on that same corner in the 1950’s. With the all-star lineup of Rosemary McKernan (Beet Rouge), Frederic Tandy (Ratinaud), Ezra Edelstein (Eco Green Homes), and Jens Heidenreich (Dalhousie University) at the wheel, The 244 makes easy work of accomplishing their goal: feeding the diverse North End neighbourhood of Halifax with “accessible food” for all. With Rosemary looking after the sourcing, all the ingredients arrive fresh from local farms every day.

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Inside, you will find a cozy atmosphere with four high stools set against a tiled table that faces out onto Cornwallis’ colorful houses. It’s a classic diner setting: huge glass windows that allow you to see the corner of the street, a blackboard menu, and an open kitchen where you can see the cook at work. As Rosemary simultaneously delivers a jug of water to me while greeting a friendly face at the door, my nose fills with the sweet aroma of fried food. There are no tricks and intricacies to this spot, and perhaps that’s the best part – the food speaks for itself, and the food my friends, speaks volumes.

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First up, I’m served the Salad Fries. To my surprise (just kidding), there are two key components to this dish – salad and fries. Despite the simplicity, the salad and fries together make a great combo – it just works. Hand-cut every day using local potatoes, the thick-cut fries have this density to them that you just don’t get from fast-food spots. In fact, they’re so good on their own, they don’t even need salt.

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Next up come the Fish and Chips, which are made with local haddock fillets cooked to order and the same kickass fries. The tartar sauce is light and fresh thanks to the pickles and capers they throw in the mix. Every restaurant has their own spin on fish and chips, but this one is a pleasant surprise to say the least. The batter is lighter than what I’m used to – a crisp crackle in my mouth, and then the taste of the haddock hits. The thing I love most about this is that the batter never gets in the way of the dish like so many I’ve had before – it’s just the perfect amount of crunch to enhance the experience of the fresh fish.

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Before the Tacos al Pastor even reach the table, they make their presence known to me. Wheat tortillas come filled with a 24 hour-marinated pork and are topped with tomatillo, red pepper, pineapple, and Thai chili pepper salsa, and fresh cilantro. A classic Mexico City-style taco, it ties in tropical fruitiness, spice, and smokiness to form the ultimate flavour experience.

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Last but not least, comes the Nashville-Style Fried Chicken. Local chicken is brined for 24 hours and comes served on sliced white bread from 24 carrots bakery alongside a pile of the same hand-cut fries. Here’s the real kicker about this fried chicken – it’s juicy as hell whether you are on the first or the last bite, and that’s thanks to the fact that it’s been brined. On top of being some of the most flavourful and moist fried chicken I have had in a long time, it comes painted with that fiery blend of spiciness that Nashville hot chicken is famous for. A dish like this truly deserves the designation of a finger-licker.

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To keep a neighborhood fed is one thing, but to provide accessible, fresh, and delicious meals at an affordable price day after day is something truly noteworthy. Sure, The 244’s food is nothing extravagant or life changing, but in an area that is still bouncing back from the effects of urban decline, Rosemary, Frederic, Ezra, and Jens are providing a much-needed community gathering place. Whether you need a quick lunch for the road or are just looking for a friendly conversation while you munch on some fries, stop by the 244 today and show your community what it means to be a North Ender.

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