Nfld. & Labrador

Citing slump, Bacalao owner looks to sell, start new venture

A high-profile fine dining restaurant in St. John’s is up for sale after 11 years in business.

Andrea Maunder says economic downturn pushed her to try something new

The owner of Bacalao says restaurants are seeing roughly 75 per cent of their usual business for this time of year. (CBC)

A high-profile fine dining restaurant in St. John's is up for sale after 11 years in business.

Bacalao owner Andrea Maunder says the economic downturn has caused a business slump, and she's ready to try something new.

"It's taken me probably a year to come to the decision that I have," Maunder said.

"It kind of had to wait until I had my personal parachute so that I've got something else to launch that I can sink my teeth into and obviously make a living from."

Andrea Maunder, chef and owner at Bacalao, has her focus on a new venture. Saucy & Sweet sells cocktail syrups, preserves and sweets made with local ingredients. (CBC)

Housed in a turn-of-the-century home on Lemarchant Road, Bacalao specializes in modern, upscale versions of classic Newfoundland dishes using locally sourced ingredients. It was a gap Maunder saw in the restaurant industry in St. John's when she started the business.

"I came home 11 years ago expressly to do this, having visited lots of times and looking for Newfoundland food," she said.

See Zach Goudie's documentary on the last days of another St. John's restaurant, the Reluctant Chef 

"There was a lot of uptake throughout the province with everybody focusing on local."

Maunder says Bacalao was "pretty much flat out" for the first nine or 10 years in business, but lately she's noticed a slowdown.

Keeping it local

The silver lining, Maunder says, is that she's had more time to focus on a new venture, called Saucy & Sweet, which sells cocktail syrups, preserves and sweets made with local berries and other ingredients.

"It's been challenging the last couple years in the restaurant industry because of the downturn in the economy, but I'm so re-energized now," she said.

Maunder's new venture is a smaller-scale business and sets up at the St. John's Farmer's Market and other local markets. (Saucy & Sweet by Andrea Maunder/Facebook)

"It's been something that's been percolating for probably four or five years and now I have the time and the energy to do it, so I'm thrilled."

Saucy & Sweet sets up shop at the St. John's Farmer's Market and other local markets. Maunder's also in the catering business and says Bacalao will stay open until the building sells.

"You know how real estate goes, it could happen tomorrow it could happen months from now, but there's always lead time."

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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