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St. John's restaurant location switches noodles — from pasta to ramen

The popular noodle restaurant Bad Bones Ramen has reopened in the former Tavola location on Water Street in St. John’s.
The popular noodle restaurant Bad Bones Ramen has reopened in the former Tavola location on Water Street in St. John’s. - Joe Gibbons

Business owner Bob Hallett says good timing led to the closure of Tavola and the rebirth of Bad Bones Ramen

Musician and businessman Bob Hallett says the time was right to move on from his restaurant Tavola and allow the folks from Bad Bones Ramen to change the focus from spaghetti to ramen noodles.

In late-December, Adam Gallop and Jasmine Kean announced the closure of Bad Bones at the end of the year. But fans of ramen, a Japanese noodle dish, were left with a glimmer of hope, when they stated they were looking for a new location.

“It was really fortuitous for both of us, I think,” said Hallett. “They needed a restaurant, I had one mothballed and ready to go.”

On Wednesday, Bad Bones held a soft launch in their new location: the former Tavola restaurant at 178 Water St.

The Tavola space had been closed for renovations for a few months. Initially, Hallett says he had plans to re-open the restaurant in December, but as work continued, it became clear the timeframe wasn’t going to work.

As winter settled in, Hallett says the prospect of trying to re-open the restaurant in the middle of what’s typically a quieter time of year became more daunting. More than that, Hallett says other projects were taking his focus away from the restaurant.

“I've got a lot of musical projects on the go. I've got big musical theatre project just wrapping up now that I've been working on for two years,” he said.

“There was no way I could do both and do justice to either of them and music is really my first love. I wanted to put a lot more time and effort into Erin's Pub. It made the decision easier.”

With Tavola closed and Bad Bones settling into its new home, Hallett says he still has plans to expand his business — this time looking up, instead of side-to-side.

“Tavola was a small, narrow building and we’d already done a tremendous amount to retrofit it. Realistically, other than poke a hole in the wall, we couldn’t go much further with that,” he said.

“Whereas upstairs at Erin’s, I’ve got blank canvas so that’s where I’ll be putting my time and money and effort over the next few years.”

With Bad Bones expanding and new entrants to compliment the existing businesses, Hallett says there’s something of a renaissance happening on the East End of Water Street, a trend he hopes can continue.

“Downtown is really struggling the last couple of years. But this Water Street East area has really not only hung on but prospered. I think it has sort of become the grown-up end of Water Street,” he said.

“When people are tired of George Street and sort of thing, they can come up here and we've got tremendous and unique retail, we've still got a bunch of great restaurants, you've got the Ship Inn, the Black Sheep, Erin’s Pub and the Duke Duckworth all great nights out on their own, but together you’ve got something amazing.”

Kenneth.oliver@thetelegram.com

david.maher@thetelegram.com

Twitter: DavidMaherNL

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