Way back in the very first issue of The Overcast, we ran a piece on the newly opened Mallard Cottage restaurant in Quidi Vidi, and co-founder Stephen Lee told us, “We weren’t going to run a place that’s this unique, and has this much historical significance in the province and country, without doing it properly.”
It is fair to say the charm and awe of this restaurant hits you before you even see a menu. Walking into Mallard Cottage feels like walking into another era, another time, a better time, where careful craftsmanship matters in both the food and the building itself.
Regulations only required them to maintain the look of the building’s exterior, but before they opened shop in 2013, Lee and co-owner Todd Perrin went the extra mile and spent two years meticulously fashioning the interior of the restaurant, taking out its boards one at a time, refinishing them, and re-installing them.
“It was a painstaking amount of work, and money, and time,” but as Stephen told us during that interview in 2014, and he said it laughing, “I’m only going to do something foolish like this once. So I did it right.”
The building deserved it. Mallard Cottage was built by Quidi Vidi settlers — the Mallard family — around 1830, and is one of the oldest residential homes in Canada.
For Stephen and Todd, going the route of standard contractors simply wouldn’t do. They hired a fourth-generation boat-building family from Trinity to take their time and renovate with care. It was the same family responsible for the restoration and general look of Trinity itself.
This week, Parks Canada and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada held a plaque unveiling ceremony to commemorate the national historic significance of Mallard Cottage as a national historic place. Here’s chef Todd Perrin holding the plaque.