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The ‘Love Hub’ In Uptown Saint John Welcomes Gahan House

Matt MacDonald, bar manager and oyster shucker, Ben Tsang, general manager, and Nicola Sutherland, assistant general manager. (Image: Mark Leger/Huddle)

SAINT JOHN – The new Gahan House Port City is joining the “Love Hub” just in time for Chop Chop week.

The “Love Hub” is what Nicola Sutherland, assistant general manager for Gahan House Port City, has been calling the area of Uptown Saint John that has taken off in the past few years with new restaurants, bars and refurbished apartments. It will now include Gahan House on Prince William Street.

“The alley from Italian by Night, all the way down, is booming,” said Sutherland. “I’ve been calling it the ‘Love Hub’ because it’s [shaped] like an ‘L’ ”

The Gahan House is hoping to feel some of that love beginning with its first week of business, timed to coincide with Chop Chop, October 30 – November 5. It will offer special Port City menu items,  all part of Gahan House’s efforts to tailor part of its menu to the city’s tastes and things that make it distinct from others.

Ghahan House Port City has a distinctive yellow trim on the outside of its Prince Street location. (Image: Mark Leger/Huddle)

The Chop Chop menu for Gahan House will include Salmon Tataki –  a quick seared Atlantic salmon (served medium rare) with citrus soy dressing and, as an added Saint John touch, shredded dulse.

“The menus are relatively the same [for our different locations],” says general manager Ben Tsang, “but there are unique features to each one based on the city.”

Prince Edward Island-based Murphy Hospitality Group operates Gahan House, which has now has three locations – Charlottetown, Halifax and Saint John. The emerging Maritime chain of establishments is named after John Gahan, a prominent 19th-century PEI merchant, importer of teas, wines, and family groceries. The PEI Gahan House is located at the site of his home in downtown Charlottetown.

The Saint John location will have a pub, an oyster bar, a microbrewery, and a retail store where customers can buy growlers and a range of Gahan beers bottled in PEI.

“We have about 10 beers that we consider our mainstay, core brands,” says Tsang, “and then dozens upon dozens that we brew seasonally which are very popular and fit the season – like the Pumpkin Ale in the fall and then Winter Warmers.”

The Saint John brewmaster will also brew beers for local tastes. Tsang says they have a couple in mind already, but he won’t reveal what they are just yet.

“If you go to Ghahan Halifax, there will be completely different beers than you’d get here or in Charlottetown,” said Tsang.

Matt MacDonald will run the oyster bar. “He’s a shucking master who won a local competition a few weeks ago in Halifax,” says Sutherland. “He’s kind of a big deal in the shucking world.”

The Ghana House crew has been hard at work over the past few weeks getting ready for the Chop Chop week launch. They have more than 30 employees ready to make Gahan House a part of the “Love Hub” scene, says Tsang.

“Saint John is solidifying itself as a place to be, and we wanted to make sure we were part of that community,” he says. “It’s a great opportunity.”

“At the end of the day, we’re just excited to share our love for oysters, our love for beer, our love for food, and our love for service.”