A wee bit of history

From 1917 to 1971 the Royal Bank of Canada provided continuous banking services in Clark’s Harbour. Then it became imperative to find a new location. Basil Blades, a highly respected entrepreneur and community leader recognized the importance of keeping the bank in the region. He built a new building and leased it to the bank.

When the Royal Bank closed and went up for sale early in 2021, the owners of Clark’s Harbour Seafood Ltd. and Atlantic ChiCan Seafood stepped in with a plan to open a restaurant. Their vision was to attract people to the region. Because the former bank was located by the sea, they called it the Salt Banker.  

The “Salt Banker” was also a schooner that fished with trawl dories off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland. Men brought the daily catch from the trawl dories back to the schooner where it was dressed, split, then salted in the holds of the ship before being transported to land. Next, the fish was kenched (kept straight) on pallets, pressed to remove the excess water from the fish, then sundried on fish flakes in preparation to be sold domestically in Newfoundland, or exported to countries like the West Indies.

Today, sitting inside (or outside on the patio in fine weather) you’ll see fishing boats and activities—evidence that you are in the middle of a great fishing community whose lifeblood is the sea.

Captain of the Galley

Operating a restaurant is no mean feat. It requires someone to lead the team. Someone who has an amazing way with food and the know-how to put a restaurant on the map.

Enter Nichole Hopkins, the Chef-Manager of the Salt Banker. Chef Nichole is no stranger to the area. In 2013, she opened The Lobster Shack in Barrington. Her partner, Tony Ross, stepped into the scene and before long they were appearing on television food shows, taking part in food festivals, and winning prestigious awards. Although Chef Nichole sold the restaurant in 2016, for the past few years she’s done extensive catering, including home parties, weddings, community, and corporate functions. She’s also prepared some “wow” meals for the staff and workers at Sea Star Seafoods in Clark’s Harbour. Pre-COVID, Chef Nichole was invited to create new menus and assist with staff training at the prestigious Jake’s Hotel in Treasure Beach, Jamaica.

Get ready to be both amazed and impressed as you venture into the Salt Banker.

Media News

First eat-in restaurant on Cape Sable Island in almost 20 years expected to open this summer; Salt Banker will offer unique eats, dining experience (Saltwire, May 11, 2022)

CLARK’S HARBOUR, N.S. — It was by chance that Chef Nicole Hopkins learned there were plans in the works to open a new restaurant in Clark’s Harbour, Shelburne County.

The former Royal Bank building had been purchased by local seafood exporters Atlantic Chican and Clark’s Harbour Seafoods and was being renovated into a restaurant. They were looking for a chef/manager.

“I wasn’t looking for a job, but I love restaurants, so whenever there’s any news of a restaurant I want to know what’s going on,” says Hopkins. “I sent an email replying to the message stating I wasn’t looking for a job. I was just interested in what was happening and I wanted to know if they wanted some help, some guidance. Maybe I could offer them some input.”

Hopkins met with the owners on site and was dismayed to see the initial layout. “They had scoped everything completely backwards to what a chef would do,” she says by planning to put the kitchen in the space with the ocean view.