Bistro Sofia closes

Karl Wells
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Restaurant’s name, menu will live on

Well known European-styled bistro, Bistro Sofia, on Water Street has closed.

Bistro Sofia on Water Street in St. John’s.

The name has been purchased by St. John’s business owner and hotelier John Franklin of the Franklin Hotel. Franklin has been a business partner of Bistro Sofia’s owners, chefs Gregory Bersinski and Tony Velinov, who also operate Black Sea Restaurant in the Franklin Hotel.

Franklin says he and the chefs intend to retain Bistro Sofia and more importantly its menu, as part of Black Sea Restaurant at the Franklin.

“The menu they were doing at Bistro Sofia is now going to be done here,” explained Franklin, “and we’re going to have a Bistro Sofia lunch and we’re going have a Black Sea evening.”

He went on to say that extra coffee equipment is being acquired while Black Sea and its bar will be reformatted and furnished with new tables and chairs to create a new version of two merged restaurants.

Franklin says the move is partly meant to create some of the food choices in the east end of Water Street that are available in the west end — meaning the waterfront restaurant chains, Starbucks and the imminent Boston Pizza franchise.  

“Greg’s famous sandwiches at the bistro are going to be available at Black Sea almost immediately. It may take us a couple of days just to work everything up, but almost immediately.”

The move will not be a surprise to industry watchers. Apart from a downturn in the economy, recent property tax increases — which, it is anticipated will be passed on to renters such as restaurant operators — have caused many to consider other options.

This latest restructuring may be a sign of more to come.


The Happy Hummus Hut also announced its closure on a Facebook post Wednesday.

In a post on the business's Facebook page, owner Hlynn Kenny said, "I have developed yet another life-threatening allergy and cannot continue to operate the Hummus Hut. As much as I love my Hut and all of you, the air in my business is endangering my life, so I have to say goodbye."

The owners are looking for an interested buyer to take over the business.


Organizations: Starbucks, Boston Pizza

Geographic location: Black Sea, Water Street

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Recent comments

  • joecool
    March 11, 2016 - 13:50

    Noooooooooooo!!!! Will we still be able to pop in somewhere & pick up those deadly cupcakes? Best EVER!!

  • Tony Strong
    March 11, 2016 - 06:45

    It was not that long ago that long ago that there was only one or two high end places, then along came oil and money and bang.. the days of most of us being able to afford a meal out. are over and some could only do it on special occasions.. On our 50th Wedding Anniversary.. our two sons and their wives took us out.. While we did, indeed have a wonderfull meal, it cost a fortune..While I did not see the bill ( lol ) I did figure out the tip, as the son who paid for it uses 10% before taxes and it slipped out how much that was...While my wife and I are worth it.. I don't think that over 100$ per person for a meal is available to many more and more of these high end places will close and we will go back to the good old Hot Turkey you and me..

  • A mom
    March 09, 2016 - 21:57

    Maybe if these places downtown made it more affordable for family instead of the elite and business meetings then they would be in business longer.

  • il
    March 09, 2016 - 14:41

    The same people operate now MamaSoula's, so they may offer the same or similar cakes. I love all their cakes too and I am sad to see them closing.

  • Jamie
    March 09, 2016 - 13:51

    So disappointed to see Bistro Sofia close - LOVED their Guilt Free chocolate cake!

    • Todd
      March 10, 2016 - 07:12

      Did you not read the article ? They are not closing, simply moving locations to join together with the Black Sea restaurant. Unfortuneately this is just the beginning of many changes to the scope of downtown. With all the chain restaurants opening, and the city increasing taxes --- many more small restaurants are going to face tough decisions,

    • didi
      March 10, 2016 - 09:07

      Just spoke with the people operating Bistro Sofia. They now are with Mama Soula's and they will be offering all their cakes, pastries and desserts. I am not sure if they will be available @ Black sea. Maybe they will :)