Earlier this yr, Loblaws launched Globo, a brand new grocerant idea at their Maple Leaf Gardens location. Not like sizzling tables of fried meals, salad bars and grab-and-go containers, the quick-serve restaurant mirrors as we speak’s eating and life-style shifts.
By combining sought-after worldwide flavors with digital comfort, prospects can get fresh-cooked bowl meals (or bōl meals) — together with butter hen, jerk hen and pad Thai — utilizing on-site touch-screen kiosks and on-line platforms for contactless ordering, pickup and supply.
These behavioral shifts concern mainstream grocers, who’ve seen client meals spending shift elsewhere. Older generations headed to supermarkets for elements, whereas as we speak’s youthful shoppers have totally different life and attitudes towards meals and consuming. We’re cooking much less, consuming out extra, and replenishing pantries from big-box shops, on-line sellers and specialty suppliers. Grocerants (a portmanteau of grocery and restaurant) let giant grocers replace their picture and function by providing straightforward made-to-order meal options which are more healthy than quick meals.
After all, getting fresh-cooked meals whereas buying is not new. All over the world, cook dinner stalls providing meals and snacks sit by bread, produce and meat distributors in mercados, souks and different markets. That conventional expertise, one which satisfies cravings for conventional worldwide flavors, might be present in some native impartial outlets.
Lucy Mendoza opened Kitchener’s Mi Tienda Latina greater than 20 years in the past, when the closest native restaurant choices for Latino meals had been usually roadhouse or fast-food Tex-Mex. From the beginning, prospects might purchase Latino elements alongside fresh-cooked pupusas.
Right this moment, Lorena Canjura continues her aunt’s legacy on the store, sharing Salvadorian tradition. She sells elements and presents concepts to these exploring the delicacies, whereas her kitchen gives inspiration via scratch-cooked soups, arepas and meals resembling pescado frito and carne a la plancha.
“My mother retains it utterly conventional,” says Natalie Rubio, Canjura’s daughter. “The dishes we make are the identical as they are going to be executed in El Salvador. We’re not mixing recipes up,” by adapting or fusing cuisines.
Conventional recipes additionally underpin Kitchener’s six-month-old Yum Yum Kabob. Very similar to Center Japanese bazaars, it is discovered behind KW Wholesale, a treasure trove of housewares and tinned and dry meals supporting the Center Japanese group.
The spark for the takeout spot started final yr, when Somaya Mohammadi supplied dishes cooked by her husband, Hussein Ferdos, to the native Persian Telegram channel. Ferdos, who was a chef in Afghanistan, Iran, Turkey and Syria, ready and delivered 12 orders that weekend.
“Folks ate the meals and so they preferred it. They put these feedback within the group and the following day I bought 20 orders,” says Ferdos. “Now, I’ve prospects from Guelph and Hamilton each week, some who purchase three, 4 or 5 meals.”
Right this moment, they provide Afghan and Iranian dishes. Whereas they’ve falafel and wraps, they concentrate on charcoal-grilled and braised meats accompanied by salad and both saffron or dill-flecked rice.
Whereas Mi Tienda Latina and Yum Yum Kabob’s companies are rooted in conventional meals for his or her expat communities, the broader group discovers them via phrase of mouth and supply apps.
For these of us who get pleasure from cooking and consuming from an array of cultures, small store-based kitchens resembling these present typically difficult-to-find flavors and dishes.
“That is the closest you will get, if you wish to strive one thing genuine and can’t journey,” says Lorena Canjura. “Folks come right here and say, ‘this seems like house.'”
Should you arrive when Mi Tienda Latina’s massive, hearty Sopa de Res (Beef Soup) that’s loaded with beans, cabbage, corn and different greens ($14) is not on the range, have their Tacos Birria ($17). Drizzle some savory jus over the silky braised beef-filled delicate corn shells. They’re effectively past your traditional tacos.
Beneficiant charcoal-grilled meat skewer meals stay as much as Yum Yum Kabob’s title. Served on saffron rice, dotted with pomegranate arils, the Chenjeh Bakhtiyari ($18.99) options succulent, gently flavored beef tenderloin and hen breast items and grilled tomatoes with tangy herbed yogurt and glowing purple cabbage and onion salad.
Mi Tienda Latina
103 Ontario St., Kitchener
Hours: Monday to Saturday, 9 am to six pm; Sunday, 9 am to 4 pm
Menu: Contemporary, scratch-cooked Salvadorian dishes utilizing conventional recipes. Pupusas, tacos and arepas. Dinner platters embody bandeja, grilled fish and grilled steak. Each day specials embody soup of the day. Some vegetarian choices.
Fee: Money, Debit, Mastercard, Visa,
Tips on how to get your meals: Stroll-in. Name forward. Dine-in — a communal desk is ready up within the retailer.
Supply: DoorDash, Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats
Yum Yum Kabob
27 Scott St., Kitchener (behind KW Wholesale)
Hours: Each day, 10:30 am to 9:30 pm; Closed Tuesdays.
Menu: Freshly ready Afghan and Iranian dishes, specializing in grilled meats served with cabbage and onion salad and saffron or herbed rice. Menu additionally presents dumplings and wraps. Some vegetarian choices.
Fee: Money, Debit, Mastercard, Visa
Tips on how to get your meals: Stroll-in. Name forward. Dine-in — a communal desk is ready up close to the entrance of the shop.
Supply: DoorDash, Skip the Dishes, Uber Eats