City Bites

OPENING: Why did Red Apron cross the road? To expand the retail biz in fresh new digs

Red Apron Basics is the new line of organic dry goods filling the shelves at Red Apron's new retail location

When the goal is something as lofty as trying to get busy people “back to the table,” eating wholesome made-from-scratch meals made with mostly organic and local ingredients, it seems fitting that Red Apron found itself in need of more space.

Jo-Ann Laverty and Jennifer Heagle, co-owners of the popular fresh meal service, noticed a growing demand for the retail take-out side of the business and struggled to find room to share with their customers all of the delicious goodies and fine ingredients that inspires them in the kitchen — and at home. There were fresh local eggs, artisan breads, decadent Quebec cheeses, homemade jams and preserves, to name a few. From there the idea of offering even more of the kitchen “essentials” began to take form. After one intense research trip to New York with a designer in tow, the concept came together. As of Monday morning, Red Apron’s new fully-stocked “retail pantry” is open for business.

If you’ve ever visited the old shop on Gladstone Avenue, then look no further than the building directly across the street to find the new spot. Apparently it was once the home of the first Nicastro grocery store back in the ’60s. After some significant renovations, with an eye to creating a clean industrial look that incorporates organic materials like salvaged barn board, Laverty and Heagle have the space to offer more of what they believe their clients are looking for. And a little more elbow room for their staff— which has grown to 14 — as well.

Now rather than walking through the front door and finding themselves practically in the kitchen, customers have room to browse  in a spacious boutique stocked with everything from “Red Apron Basics” (their own line of organic dry goods such as fair trade chocolate chips and steel cut oats) and fresh local dairy products (don’t miss the heavenly half-salt butter from Quebec) to fridges and freezers full of those signature dinners and sweets.

“Everything we’re doing fits with the Red Apron philosophy,” says Heagle. “Everything is local, organic, or both, and everything is made from scratch in our kitchen.”

New location: 564 Gladstone Ave., 613-321-0417, www.redapron.ca

New extended hours: Mon-Tues, 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Wed-Thurs 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; and Sunday 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.