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GSAÉD hires new manager, obtains business license; liquor license expected in five weeks

Photo by Tina Wallace

Café Nostalgica has obtained a business license and has promoted chef David Breitenherdt to the head manager position after dismissing its previous manager in November.

The Graduate Students’ Association (GSAÉD) filled the position Dec. 15. Breitenherdt has been the restaurant’s head chef since its reopening in August. Ajà Besler, the advocacy and communications coordinator for the GSAÉD, said he was chosen over other candidates for his previous management experience and intimate understanding of the café.

Breitenherdt declined an interview, but said the GSAÉD would comment on his behalf.

“It was decided that it would be an easy transition because he had been doing a lot of work after the previous manager left,” Besler said.

Breitenherdt was a part of the café’s team during its reopening, and according to GSAÉD student life commissioner Patricia Barra de la Tremblaye, has had a lot of experience helping restaurants with financial trouble.

In November, the GSAÉD approved $110,000 in financial aid for the café, which now owes a total of $219,000 to various creditors.

“He has done tremendous work already and we are very excited for the coming months when the café will be back on track, above the financial abyss it is now facing,” Barra de la Tremblaye wrote in an email.

The café continues to operate on reduced hours and has not yet obtained a liquor license.

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GSAÉD coordinator Ajà Besler shows off Café Nostalgica’s new business license. (Photo courtesy of Ajà Besler)

The restaurant has now reacquired its business license, and Besler estimates that a liquor license will be granted within five weeks. The café had previously been operating without such licenses and had to reapply for them due to a mixup in the application process. Café Nostalgica was not fined by the City of Ottawa or by the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario, but cannot sell alcohol until its liquor license is granted.

According to Besler, the GSAÉD has been making behind-the-scenes changes to deal with matters of accounting or how inventory is recorded.

“Things are doing a lot better,” Besler said. “We’re doing a lot of changes internally to make things more efficient in the way we run the café.”

Café Nostalgica will resume its special events, which include evening performances and artistic programming, once it obtains its liquor license.

“We have launched a survey to find out what students would like to see at the café,” Barra de la Tremblaye wrote. “We definitely want to increase the graduate students’ involvement, but at the same time we want to keep our popular live music nights at the café.”

She said the GSAÉD hopes to resume serving breakfast on the weekends. They have also planned a new reopening event once the restaurant gets its alcohol service back.