It’s Not Easy Bein’ Green

As Kermit himself acknowledges, ‘it’s not easy bein’ green.’ But, it is essential. Or, at least that’s what we believe. That’s why we endeavor to implement as many eco-friendly practices as possible, and why we remain open to suggestions for how to improve.

The restaurant industry is notoriously wasteful; therefore, it is critical that we do our part to limit our effect on the environment. Though we are just a small café, located on a tiny island in the middle of the North Atlantic, we know that our practices can still have impact.

Naturally, we make sure to recycle whatever we can. In the summer, we are able to provide local gardens and farms with our compostables, and at all times we are fastidious about limiting our waste output.

Some of the small ways in which we endeavor to do our part include the exclusive use of LED lights, paper straws, compostable and eco-friendly single-use cups, bamboo take-away cutlery, cloth napkins and bathroom linens. Our procurement philosophy also sees that we partner with companies that boast the highest ethical standards, taking into account their own global impact.

If you would like to learn more about our purchasing strategies, click here.

Take a Book, Leave a Book

One of the best-loved features of our café is the take-a-book-leave-a-book library. As avid readers, and frequent travellers, we understand the need for an ongoing, revolving supply of books. That’s why we felt it was important to dedicate some of our space to an open library.

Next time you’re at the café, feel free to peruse our shelves of books, which boast a selection of choices for all ages. Don’t have a book to trade? No problem. We’re not keeping track. Wish to contribute a book, or a carload of books? Awesome! Just speak to one of our friendly staff members. We’ll gladly accept books of all kinds.

So, really what we should say is: Take a book, or leave a book, or both, it’s up to you.

Happy reading!

Simply Ir-restrictable

Dining out with dietary restrictions can be a real pain, especially when you are travelling and subject to the sensitivities (or lack thereof) of another cook. For those who have been ‘glutened’ or had to carefully explain the difference between pescetarianism and vegetarianism, we feel you.

This life challenge is precisely why we do whatever we can to accommodate our patrons’ dietary needs and preferences. Many of our dishes can be amended to suit a wide range of concerns, and our chefs are known for their ability to concoct delicious, safe dishes ‘off menu’ when required.

Our philosophy of inclusiveness and community extends to the plate. No diner need go unfed! We truly believe that dining out should present an opportunity to relax – for everyone – which means removing the need for scrutiny and hyper-vigilance. 

Save for special events – such as our recent Thai Supper – Bangbelly maintains a peanut-free space. We offer easy, gluten-free modifications for the majority of our dishes, and vegans need not shy away. Seeds get you down? Allergic to lettuce? Worry not. Just let us know how we can accommodate you.

While cross-contamination is a concern in any competent kitchen, we maintain the highest culinary standards to limit your exposure to the many allergens that are regularly used at the café.

Ultimately, the most important part of maintaining a practice of dietary sensitivity is honesty. If we can’t do it, or we can’t do it safely, we always make sure to let you know, because you should always have agency over what you consume.

Let’s All Go to the Lobby

We’re big cinephiles, which is nerd-speak for ‘we love movies.’

One of the things we love most about the movies is the sense of community that comes from collectively laughing, gasping, or covering your eyes. Simply put, it’s more fun when there are people with whom to share the movie-going experience. And, of course, the movie snacks don’t hurt.

When we decided to mount a projector and hang a movie screen, it was with this experience in mind. Some of our favourite events to date have involved our make-shift cinema.

As we look toward the season ahead, we aim to develop a program of films that will excite and inspire. That’s why we’re looking for your input!

We want to know which movies would you like to see. And better yet, when you best enjoy screenings at the café. To make your recommendations, drop us a line at hello@bangbelly.com as always, we value your feedback and can’t wait to hear your ideas.

Old is the New Black

It is no secret that we are big fans of up-cycling and recycling. Take just one quick look around the café and you’ll notice a number of vintage and antique pieces, many with a funny or interesting story (just ask us!). Of course, these elements lend to the aesthetics of our space, and help to give Bangbelly it’s eclectic style. Importantly, these pieces also help to reduce the amount of waste going needlessly into landfills and help to disrupt the process of mass production that out-of-the-box-new items require.

The vast majority of our dishware has been collected over time from vintage shops, and second-hand stores. The beauty of this approach is that not only do we get to interact with a variety of unique items every day, but the inevitable breakage that occurs in restaurants will never necessitate a large-scale replacement of our service wares.

Much of the fabrics used to upholster our soft-seating were also acquired second-hand from antique shops. We love the one-of-a-kind effect of these fabrics, and are always happy to find a use for upcycled materials.

One item in particular that is interacted with multiple times a day is our pastry case. Plug ‘commercial pastry case’ into your favourite search engine and you will immediately realize two things: firstly, aesthetics are hardly a feature that they can boast, and secondly… plastic. They utilize so much plastic.

Our workaround came during a trip to one of our favourite antique stores, when we uncovered a hidden gem. Amidst the jumble of of odds-and-ends, we found one part of an old, modular, glass-fronted bookcase. By building our own custom shelving and providing a little TLC, we were able to re-purpose the piece into something functional and beautiful, with a story.

Curious to learn more about up-cycling and how to disrupt the ‘cradle to grave’ manufacturing process? We highly recommend the visionary book Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough and Michael Braungart.

The Key to Success? Picking the Right Partner

If you have visited Bangbelly before you’re likely to remember that we pride ourselves on our sourcing and procurement practices. When choosing a product or vendor, the most impactful aspect of our decision-making has to do with the quality and ethics of our partners’ products. Naturally, we do what we can to source as closely to home as possible, keeping in mind that distance = carbon.

One small exception to this rule, or rather the exception that proves the rule, is our use of De Mello Palheta coffee, based in Toronto. It’s true; there are many fantastic roasters situated in Newfoundland, and Gros Morne is one that we proudly support (more on that in a minute); however, De Mello stands out for us due to its careful and thoughtful relationships with coffee producers. Moreover, while we actively attempt to limit our carbon footprint, the very nature of coffee production means that our favorite fruit (yes! fruit) will have travelled a long distance to us, regardless of where it is roasted.

De Mello ensures that a basic minimum price is paid to its farmers that is at least 20% above local demand, while maintaining ongoing relationships that help to guarantee an amount of economic security for producers. As a part of their Purchasing Philosophy, De Mello understands the importance of transparency, and is focused on telling the stories of their producers “with accuracy and equality.”

Our Gros Morne coffee, which – you guessed it – is roasted in Gros Morne, is yet another example of a company that leads with its ethics. Roasted in small batches, Gros Morne uses only fairly-traded, organic beans, from a variety of regions.

Ok, you caught us: Pluck Tea is another Toronto-based company that we proudly support, and yes, this means their product must be shipped to us; but, we believe the travel is worth it, because of the quality of their thoughtfully sourced, whole leaf teas and infusions. Pluck’s tea blends “feature ingredients grown on local farms and procured from local artisan makers” which helps to create “new, non-traditional rural economies.” Pluck’s use of Canadian-grown ingredients and sustainably-sourced teas translates directly into a ‘cuppa’ we can stand behind.

During the summer months, much of our fresh produce comes from Campbellton Berry Farm, located on the Northeast coast of Newfoundland. Self described as an ‘urban farm,’ Campbellton grows a variety of berries and other produce – does anyone else fantasize about that perfect baby corn from late summer? Impressively, they have also received an Environmental Award for outstanding contributions to environmental sustainability.

If you are on Fogo Island, you may be familiar with Living Water Farm, a hydroponics operation that produces the most beautiful greens. This one is a real no-brainer for us, and a company we hope to see grow and flourish (puns intended). If you’re enjoying a salad at Bangbelly, chances are you are also enjoying the fruits of Living Water Farm’s labour.

Wondering about our meat? We are big fans of Nelson Fagan’s Meats located in Conception Bay South, Newfoundland. Fagan Meats provides traditionally-raised organic products, and their ground beef is the backbone of our ‘Tip of the Iceburger.’

Because an impeccably brewed beer can complete the perfect meal, we choose to offer Port Rexton products. Situated between Clarenville and Bonavista, Port Rexton Brewing is a craft brewery producing some of Newfoundland’s best beer. Offering a variety of styles, their products are so popular we can hardly keep them in stock!

It should go without saying, but Bangbelly is Bangbelly largely due to the efforts and contributions of our partners. We are so fortunate to be working with such fantastic suppliers, and to be able to offer you the best-possible products. We encourage everyone to seek out these products independently, and to support local whenever possible.

If you know of any vendors or partners we should consider supporting, feel free to contact us at hello@bangbelly.com. As always, we greatly value your feedback and input!