Story by Candice Walsh
Vacay.ca Social Media Specialist
ST. JOHN’S, NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR — I started frequenting the Duke of Duckworth long before it became the hot spot featured on “Republic of Doyle.” Not that it’s any less awesome now, but I’ve been around long enough to recognize that the Duke is a local mainstay for good reason.
Here’s something you might not know: on the TV series, the pub is actually a cleverly disguised set. But according to the waitress I spoke with, droves of people still show up looking to find the stars’ favourite hangout.
“We actually get a lot of people come in asking if Jake is around,” she says with a laugh.
It looks like a classic English pub when you step inside: antique memorabilia sticks to the walls, flags trim the ceiling, and the regulars take up their favourite tables or chairs. Many will come here to watch a game, or Wednesday viewings of RoD, the popular CBC series set in St. John’s. Everybody is everybody else’s friend, and the only prerequisite for fitting in is a pint of beer. As my friend says, “You’ll get spit at if you ask for water.”
But folks don’t just come here for a tipple: did you know the Duke of Duckworth has the best pub grub in the nation, at least according to the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada list? Although many other local restaurants tout themselves to be the best fish ‘n chips joint around, most folks from St. John’s will tell you that the Duke is the place to hit up.
LOVIN’ THE DUKE OF DUCKWORTH
Fresh, flaky cod in a light batter, paired with a mountain of fries ($10.99 and up). You absolutely cannot order the fries without doing it the traditional Newfoundland way: topped with gravy and dressing (bread crumbs, onion, and savoury).
The Duke is also known for its pan-fried cod, traditional fishcakes (made with local Mt. Scio Savoury), and cod chowder. Basically, it’s the place to go if you’re in the mood for seafood. To wash it down, there’s a range of local beers like Quidi Vidi and Storm. But seeing as how you’re at The Duke and all, you might as well opt for The Duke’s Own (a microbrew made right there in-house).
When asking some patrons about their favourite dish, I received one surprising answer from two different people: grilled cheese. Amy Tobin says, “It’s like your mom is down at the kitchen in The Duke making supper for you.” Another dedicated patron, Maggie Brown-Bury, agreed. Then she added: “They also make perfect hot chocolate with Bailey’s, whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles. Nothing like it after a chilly walk to warm you up.”
MORE ABOUT THE DUKE OF DUCKWORTH
Rank on the Vacay.ca Top 50 Restaurants in Canada List for 2012: 10
Address: 325 Duckworth Street, St. John’s