Popular restaurant set to expand

Jane’s on the Common has long been a popular fixture of Halifax’s North End, and after spending six weeks in the Discovery Centre, Jane’s may be moving in permanently. “(The Discovery Centre was) keen to have some sort of food and nutrition provision for the families and kids coming to the Discovery Centre,” said Jane’s owner Jane Wright.

By Natasha Hunt

Jane's employee Emily McInnes works at the 'Discover Jane's' store at the Discovery Centre (Natasha Hunt photo.)

Jane’s on the Common has long been a popular fixture of Halifax’s North End. Now, it is looking at a permanent expansion to the Discovery Centre downtown, after opening a temporary location there for the Canada Games.

“(The centre was) keen to have some sort of food and nutrition provision for the families and kids coming to the Discovery Centre,” says Jane’s owner Jane Wright.

“We decided to do it for a six-week period, because the kids were out of school for so long; there was a two-week March Break in February because of the Canada Games, and there was the March Break in March for the kids who live out of town,” Wright says. “It was to try to fulfill a need for some fresh, healthy food for visitors (to the city) and visitors to the Discovery Center.”

Called “Discover Jane’s,” it has a lot in common with the idea of a pop-up shop, where a company takes over a space for a certain amount of time.

Emily McInnes, a Jane’s employee who works at Discover Jane’s, thinks it is a success.

“There was a lot of popular reception from the street traffic,” says McInnes.

McInnes also points out that it’s not just kids and Discovery Centre visitors who are going to Jane’s; it’s the office community too. “The office neighbourhood is really excited about the prospect of having a Jane’s down here,” she says. “It’s just making it more accessible because Robie is kind of a walk in terms of going on your lunch break and getting a sandwich.”

Brownies and Macaroons at the 'Discover Jane's' store (Natasha Hunt photo.)

The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The food for all locations is prepared at Wright’s catering kitchen on Gottingen Street. Jane’s employees and Wright herself then take everything by car to each shop.

The menu at Discover Jane’s includes items that are easy to grab and take out. Wright says the menu at the Discovery Centre does differ from the menu at her Robie Street location, but has many similarities to the menu at Jane’s Next Door.

She has tried to make the menu “kid-friendly” with carrot sticks, cookies and wax paper-wrapped sandwiches that are reminiscent of brown-bagged lunches. At the same time, though, Wright wants everything to be “adult-friendly” as well.

Sandwiches like the “veggie” sandwich are stuffed with olives and chickpeas, and served on cracked whole wheat bread. Rather than just plain old lemonade, specialty drinks such as Limonata are served.

“Our concept was to provide comfort food with panache,” Wright says.

Wright also operates Jane’s on the Common, Jane’s Next Door – both on Robie Street –  and a catering kitchen on Gottingen Street.