A Word on Chinched
The most "St. John's" of St. John's establishments and a personal favourite.
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Earlier this month, the CBC published an article on restaurants in St. John’s that are struggling currently; they interviewed one of the owners of Chinched, and it’s been on my mind ever since. I recently wrote a rant about best lists, arguing that, among other things, they’re really about personal preferences, i.e favourites. In that sense, Chinched ranks as “best” in my book. (But don’t quote me on that. Lists are silly.)
Opinions aside, however, I don’t think there’s any arguing that Chinched represents the most “St. John’s” of our ambitious restaurants; i.e. it could not happen anywhere but here. I mean, the place even resides in what looks and feels like one of our charming downtown homes. Chinched is unpretentious, welcoming (townie, not tony 🥁). They’ve got a killer charcuterie program. And, based on my many visits – and many, many plates – they make consistently delicious, shareable food. Can you say the words “bon vivant” without any hint of snobbery? Chinched is bon vivant without any hint of snobbery.
The article tells me Chinched has been around for 13 years, generations in the hospitality game. They deserve a lot of credit for that – especially since they’re not owned by … oh, I don’t know, by a massive construction conglomerate with ties to the provincial and federal liberal parties, for example? (Marco owns the Raymonds Restaurant Group.)
In the past, the “long and hungry month of March” in Newfoundland meant that time of year when winter supplies ran low. Nowadays, you could say the same for our hospitality and tourism businesses, who stretch thin for survival from tourist season to tourist season. The pandemic and inflation have only made that process harder.
For selfish reasons, but also for St. John’s hospitality in general, I hope Chinched and our other independent restaurants stick around.