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I’m Dining Out Here
by Andrew Sprague

One thing though. Sometimes they run out of ribs later in the evening so if anyone wants ribs it could be a gamble at that time.”

That was the text I received from my buddy Justin on a Wednesday afternoon early in November. Six of us were in Halifax for what was likely the biggest pool tournament in the history of Eastern Canada. There were 240 players and about $74,000 in prizes. It was a great opportunity for recreational players like me to rub shoulders with some of the best players in the world. A two-time world champion from Finland watched one of my matches. The best player in the world is going to give me a call when he comes to visit PEI, maybe. It was awesome.

Back to Justin. He lives in Halifax and was keen to take us out to one of his favourite supper spots, The Mic Mac Bar and Grill in Dartmouth. Earlier in the week I’d thumbed through the Coast’s annual Best of Halifax edition and it was on about a half dozen lists. I’d also spoken to an old friend who told me that the Mic Mac is the single biggest restaurant client of the largest food supplier in the Maritimes. I suppose that makes it the busiest restaurant in the region. Between the Coast and the friend I was curious to say the least. Justin’s text sealed the deal.

“We gotta wait for Lorne to finish. Make the reservation for 7:30. We’ll roll the dice on the ribs.”

The Mic Mac opened in 1963 and quickly became a popular choice for locals. It relocated to a new building across the street from its original location inside the last couple of years. It’s a big, open space, somewhat reminiscent of Papa Joe’s before the renovation. The menu is huge with steaks, burgers, ribs, tons of seafood and all the diner style classics you could imagine. We were a hair early for our reservation and greatly relieved to find out that ribs were indeed still on the menu.

I ordered a local draught and chatted with the bartender while we waited. She said she’d worked there for something like 15 years, but mostly part time these days. She loves it and hangs on to a few shifts just to be around the place. That’s a big compliment to the ownership and management. The money probably doesn’t hurt either.

We sat down a few minutes later. It took a little while for a few of us to decide what to order. I blame the gargantuan menu. Once we ordered it took less than 15 minutes for the food to come out. The place runs like a well oiled machine. Around the table there were steaks and burgers, and combo plates with steak, ribs and seafood. I chose a full rack of ribs with mashed potatoes and gravy. How could I not?

I did not regret my decision. They were fantastic ribs. The sweet barbeque sauce and the perfect tenderness of the meat made it difficult to avoid making a pig of myself. But I didn’t care. If my math is right, and it might not be, they are the most popular and in-demand ribs in the Maritimes. So not only did I get to enjoy a sweet rack of ribs, I got to test the most popular plate of its kind in the east. The consensus around the table was much the same. Everyone enjoyed their meal. We were in and out in just over an hour. A beer, a wine and the meal plus a generous tip came to just over $54.

The Mic Mac Bar and Grill is a little out of the way if you’re staying on the Halifax side, but it’s worth the trip. You’ll get a big meal, top notch service from some of the best staff around, and an experience you won’t soon forget.

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