By Sophie Mir
In this edition of Concept Watch, we highlight three restaurant concepts that are making an impact on Canadian diners, including a health-focused cafe, an old-school Italian restaurant and a cutting-edge restaurant serving only plant-based fare. Below, we sketch out the characteristics and menu options that have earned these operations their success and acclaim.
- A health-focused cafe brand known for its 100 per cent organic, plant-based fare and beverages.
- Purchases supplies, such as takeout containers and handmade packaged treats, from local companies.
- Mobile app lets guests order and pay online, earn reward points and send gift cards.
- Sea to Sky Thrivers Society, the nonprofit arm of the company, provides various health-related programs.
- Breakfast: Banana buckwheat waffles and several bowls, including stewed oatmeal and chia pudding
- Lunch and dinner: Soup, chili, salads, wraps and bowls.
- Cold-pressed juices: Various blends of apple, ginger, beet, carrot and celery, as well as orange and grapefruit juice.
- Beverages: The menu features a mix of old and new coffee shop favourites, including matcha, kombucha, superfood hot chocolate and a turmeric-spiked, cashew milk latte.
Locations: 2 (Edmonton and Sherwood Park, Alberta)
- Serves dinner only with an emphasis on traditional Italian fare and a quality dining experience.
- All foods are served family style, either in large bowls or platters for sharing, often over several courses.
- Positioned around fresh and local offerings with ingredients sourced from local suppliers as much as possible and frequent menu and ingredient rotations.
- Appetizers: Highlights include Caprese and Caesar salads, as well as meat-based dishes such as polpettini (beef meatballs) and gamberoni (shrimp cocktail)
- First-course offerings: Pastas, such as fettucine, gnudi and rigatoni, as well as risotto.
- Second-course offerings: Hearty, meatier fare, including chicken, beef, sea bass and lamb.
- Alcoholic beverages: Red, white, rose and sparkling wines from Italy and around the world.
- A 100 per cent vegan concept offering globally inspired fare in an upscale atmosphere.
- Two locations in Toronto, Planta Toronto and Planta Burger, a limited-service iteration with a smaller menu, as well as Planta South Beach in Miami.
- Online ordering and delivery available through various third-party apps, such as Ritual and Uber Eats.
- Catering offered.
- Lunch and dinner: Spotlights salads, small plates (e.g. Stuffed Mushrooms and Watermelon Poke) and large plates (e.g., Singapore Fried Noodles and Mushroom Bolognese).
- Pizzas: Features a calzone made with spinach, potato, onions, za’atar, garlic butter, cashew mozzarella and tomato sauce, and the Frenchie, made with mushrooms, squash, cashew “mozzarella,” arugula and lemon truffle oil.
- Desserts: Gelato, pudding and avocado lime cheesecake — all plant-based, despite the names.
- Unique to Planta Burger: The crab-less “Crab” Cake Burger, Meatball, and Jackpot Burger, as well as milkshakes in salted caramel, chocolate, strawberry and lemon flavours.
Sophie Mir is an Associate Editor for Technomic Inc., a Chicago-based foodservice research and consulting firm. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. The company’s services include publications and digital products as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry. Visit technomic.com for more information.