Recent renovations at The Cape Breton Fudge Company have allowed the downtown Sydney cafe to provide not only more menu options, it has also allowed for more entertainment options says co-owner and manager Duane Nardocchio.
“As much as we do music,” Nardocchio says, “we can do the other side of the arts with plays, monologues, and spoken word as well.”
In the next couple of months, the Fudge Company will host screenings of two international films: one from Ireland, and one from Germany, partly scored by Cape Breton singer/songwriter, Douglas September. And they are committed to having local music acts performing on their stage during every day Sydney is visited by a cruise ship this summer and fall. All this before the newly renovated space, located in the bottom floor of The Smart Shop building on Prince Street between Charlotte Street and The Esplanade, has its official grand opening later this summer.
Nardocchio says that when the shop first opened last year, it included a few tables for customers to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee and a piece of the business’s signature confection, but visitors were always asking when the shop would start offering lunch options. And even though it was a tight fit occasionally, the fudge shop was serving up musical acts from the very beginning.
The recent renovations will better serve customers’ appetites for good eating and good music.
“Essentially, we’ve doubled our size,” Nardocchio notes. “With the tables, we can seat 30 comfortably, but it leaves us lots of flexiblity; we can remove the tables and seat upwards of 60 people, concert style.”
As far as menu options go, Nardocchio says the Fudge Company was able to “plunge forward and try some items, a new sandwich and a soup offering everyday, and bagels in the morning. We’ve tried chicken dishes and burger sliders. We hope to come across a few favorites that might offer some consistency, and still be able to offer a few surprises.”
Nardocchio gives credit to Smart Shop owner, Bruce Maloney, for sponsoring the pink tour bus that delivers cruise ship passengers (out of the 30% not already committed to out of Sydney tours) to the Charlotte Street business where they not only visit the Fudge Company, but also to the collection of artisan shops on the third floor.
“All the comments have been very positive,” Nardocchio says. “They can sit and have a coffee down here and really enjoy themselves and listen to some Cape Breton fiddling or a great local singer/songwriter, and the music is also piped to all three floors, to the shoe store or the gallery and it’s a great way to invite them down.”
The fudge shop also hosts a regular Thursday evening Open Mic session from 7:30 to 9:30pm with hosting duties shared by Décota McNamara and John Gill. The sessions are also streamed live at capebretonlive.tv.
Other acts coming to the Fudge Company stage include Tom Fun Orchestra frontman, Ian MacDougall, on Saturday, July 28, and Molly Thomason and Ian Sherwood, on Saturday, August 11. Nardocchio says in September the house concert series will resume.
“We’re constantly evolving,” Nardocchio adds. “We’re playing with streaming online, and trying a few other ideas, so there will be things to watch to see what we’re going to try next.”