The Inn by Mallard Cottage may be a part of the fluctuating service and tourism industry, but its soul is pure and steady craft, on an island where craft is both beauty and survival.
Located in Quidi Vidi, (that village-within-the-city that has kept its small harbour fishing roots while, with some degree of internal tumult, has grown to become a tourism powerhouse) the Inn is an offshoot of . There are eight rooms ranging from $269-$285 a night depending on the view.
The two white buildings that comprise The Inn, though built new by Sable Building, match the simple aesthetic of the original Mallard Cottage that is both literally historic yet visually modern. This ability to see those physical elements of the past and how they can burst with new life is Mallard’s genius. With brightly coloured trim and a chicken coop between, the space is welcoming without raising or waving its arms.
The entry hall where you check-in has a white wall (actually all the walls and floors are white) displaying select local goods for sale. In each room, there is a mini-bar stocked with beer, wine, spirits, Tunnocks candy bars and Hawkins Cheezies.
The books on the shelf are from Chef and co-owner Todd Perrin’s personal collection and include vintage Hardy Boys with that familiar and evocative blue-bird-egg-blue spine; the same blue painted on the wooden spindle chairs.
Staying at the Inn you will get a Breakfast Basket with a simple continental fare of coffee, tea, juice, toast and scones or other fresh baked goods. There is one small common area that occupies the or “Lean-to” at the back of one of the buildings.
So far this has been used for some small private dinners, but Perrin is thinking it will soon house a regular “linhay lunch” in the late afternoon/early evenings for those staying at The Inn to enjoy a casual pot of chowder and some wine after a hike, but before heading out to explore St John’s nightlife. Otherwise, you are encouraged to make reservations at Mallard Cottage for any meals you want to take across the street.
Though a reservation at Mallard Cottage can be hard to get in summer, they have just opened a more casual Beer Garden out back of Mallard Cottage proper, which will be open to walk-ins Friday, Saturday and Sunday (weather permitting) from 2pm until an hour before sunset.
It won’t serve the same Mallard menu but instead will have a small rotating list of things like “calamari, souvlaki, wings and veg.” Perrin rolls this list off as if it’s not precious. He describes each accomplishment, each addition, as “a work in progress.”
Like a sparer and more grounded , Perrin and the team at Mallard are joining that grand tradition of roadside artists and entrepreneurs all over North America who simply cannot help both staying put and building, until a singular destination and monument to what hands and vision can do rises, decorates, and invites visitors as an integral part of a place. Or, in Perrin’s words, “It’s not rocket science; clean room, nice bed.”