Eating & Drinking

Former Red Apron chef Jo-Ann Laverty takes over Marcie’s in Alta Vista

She’s back! Former Red Apron chef and co-owner Jo-Ann Laverty left her role at the thriving gourmet food shop three years ago, taking time off to reconnect with family and friends, volunteer at The Parkdale Food Centre, and travel the world.

Now rejuvenated and reinvigorated, the busy entrepreneur has popped up at the helm of Marcie’s in the Alta Vista/Heron Gate neighbourhood. She has taken over the original Marcie’s and made it her own. (The first incarnation, a busy cafeteria run for 28 years by Marcie and George, was up for grabs when the owners decided to retire.)

The new Jo-Ann-led Marcie’s acknowledges the couple’s legacy while giving the menu an update. Gone is the fryer and the burgers-and-fries menu. Instead, Laverty is serving up a breakfast menu of pastries and Equator coffee and a lunch menu of hot-pressed sandwiches, fresh salads, daily soup, and stews.

As you might expect from her days at Red Apron, she’s also focusing heavily on the take-home crowd, with a large selection of fresh and frozen curries, stews, and other meals to go.

Because Marcie’s is housed in an office building/business park, Laverty can rely on “more amenable hours of operation” and a built-in client base to keep things running smoothly. Even still, why jump back into the business?

“I’m an entrepreneur — I took some significant time off but now I’m ready to jump back into the ‘crazy’ of building and maintaining a business,” says Laverty. “It was just the right time for me.”

Sample Menu and Take-home Items:

— Roasted red pepper, tomato, and lentil ragout

— Sausage, white bean, and kale stew

— Lemon coconut curry chicken with basmati rice

— Split pea soup with smoked Berkshire ham

— Potato, caramelized onion, and leek soup

Find It: 2430 Don Reid Dr., open Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Hot Tip: Opt for the exotic! After spending much of the past few years travelling, Laverty has added lots of spicy dishes to her regular rotation.

Hot Tip #2: But if spice isn’t your thing, City Bites hears that Laverty’s signature pulled pork with mac and cheese will be a mainstay on the take-home menu.

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