by Andrew Coppolino | November 2022
Often an after-thought in a business plan, takeout became an important model during the height of Covid-19 – in many ways, it was the proverbial “pivot” that helped restaurants survive the worst of the lockdowns when dining rooms were closed.
In fact, some restaurants have maintained “takeout only” service while many others have sought out new and innovative ways to bolster their takeaway business.
Here are just a few examples you might want to try.
Back of House Pizza, Kitchener
In a sea of 2-4-1 pies, Back of House pizza is a new and different addition to the pizza scene. Located at the back of Lancaster Smokehouse, the home of the “happy slice” came of the downtime of the pandemic.
Chef and co-owner of the Lanc, Tim Borys, researched and refined his pizzaiolo skills making New York-style pizza with the right flours and dough hydration to give you that big NY slice.
Order your pizza online or by phone then drive up to the wooden lean-to near the Lanc’s smokehouse to pick it up.
Sari-Sari Filipino Cuisine, Kitchener
There are vegetarian options at Sari-Sari, but the meat’s the thing at this family-run Filipino takeout restaurant on Lancaster Street.
Check out the Kamayan feast that you can pre-order a couple days ahead (prices and dishes vary depending on number of people). It’s a large communal meal with food arranged on a banana leaf – and which is then consumed without utensils.
Included are dishes like skewers of barbecued pork, pancit bihon (rice noodles with veggies) deep-fried tilapia, rice, lumpia springrolls, halabos na hipon shrimp, fruit and turon dessert springrolls or leche flan, the Filipino custard cake.
Dosirak from Yang Yum Secret Korean Recipe, Waterloo
What is essentially a Korean “lunch box” (like the Japanese bento box), dosirak combines Korean main dishes with the “banchan” side dishes that are part of Korean dining.
Four dosirak selections – beef, fried Korean chicken, mandu dumplings or tofu – snuggle together in their take-out box with japchae noodles, red cabbage, delicious gamba gorim braised potatoes.
Co-owners Jung Yun Hwang and Jeremy Barnes moved to the location in September, 2020. As for the takeout restaurant’s name, it’s both a bit of transliteration of and playfulness with the Korean word yangyeom, meaning “spicy.”
“We made it yang yum as two words that sounds like yummy or delicious,” says Barnes. “It’s a catchy name from a normal Korean word.”
Doughnuts from Albert’s, Cambridge
When they are gone, they’re gone: the demand is high, so Albert’s Doughnuts Bake Shop regularly sells out. Get there early to avoid disappointment.
Third-generation baker Albert Warzecha, who has been plying his craft for more than three decades, opened his Dundas Street, Cambridge, doughnut store a few years ago. It’s all about top-quality doughnuts for Warzecha.
The doughnut catalogue includes more than two dozen varieties that have ranged from classics like honey-glazed and apple fritters to luscious, fluffy doughnuts topped with Froot Loops and chewy Maynard’s candies.
The breakfast wrap from Hemlock Barn, St. Jacobs
Having moved from their tiny takeaway near Wilfrid Laurier University, Hemlock Barn has grown steadily – even in the darkest days of the pandemic – in terms of both their physical space (now located in the former Cedar Barn on Lobsinger Line and their menu.
It’s a universal truth that, despite being relatively simple to make, breakfast out – including take-out – always tastes better when it’s made by someone else.
The Hemlock Barn breakfast wrap is made with a cheese and bacon omelet, into which has been tucked some of the restaurant’s scrumptious home fries.
“We use local eggs and potatoes,” says Perovic. “It’s breakfast that is simple but efficient. It’s one of our top-selling items.”
Andrew Coppolino is food columnist with CBC-KW and Metroland newspapers. The author of Farm to Table (Swan Parade Press) and co-author of Cooking with Shakespeare (Greenwood Press), he is the 2022 “Joseph Hoare Gastronomic Writer-in-Residence” at the Stratford Chefs School. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @andrewcoppolino.