Above, from left: Elizabeth Rowe, Michelle Hooton and Gord Hewitt – partners in Saint John’s new Italian by Night restaurant – photographed during the renovations prior to opening.
Michelle Hooton and her business partners have just opened a new anchor tenant in Saint John’s food scene.
Italian by Night was a fully tested concept, running the dinner shift at the Urban Deli for almost six years, before coming into its own on Germain Street in a heritage space formerly occupied by a 100-year old furniture business.
Hooton is excited about the opportunities the restaurant will bring.
“There was a time when ethnic food in Saint John was hard to find, but nowadays the variety available has exploded. Restaurants are places where creativity and craft can flourish. That creates jobs that attract the creative class to our city.”
She says a healthy restaurant culture can have a big impact on a city’s quality of life.
“A great restaurant exudes confidence, and confidence is contagious. It gives people a reason to be out in the evening, and to gather together as friends – building connections.”
Saint John’s restaurant community is generally owner operated, and Italian by Night is no exception.
“We have skin in the game,” says Hooton. “You can feel the vibe in that kind of business, because everything matters. Being able to say: ‘I know the chef’ is an awesome feeling.”