Restaurant concepts to watch for October

By Kristin Menas

In this edition of “concepts to watch,” we highlight three restaurant concepts that are making an impact on Canadian diners. Here’s a look at the characteristics and menu offerings that make these restaurants unique:

Kupfert & Kim

Instagram: 9,156 followers | Facebook: 4,310 likes | Twitter: 1,500 followers
Locations: 6 (Toronto)

Concept characteristics:

  • Specializes in plant-based, wheat-free and meatless foods
  • Almost everything made from scratch in-house, including sauces, butters, pickles and baked goods
  • Fresh produce brought in every morning for in-store prep; sources local and organic whenever possible
  • Offers discounts to guests who supply their own container; also provides compostable takeout materials

Menu snapshot:

  • Green Smoothie Bowl—all-day breakfast item with avocado, non-GMO blueberries, cashew butter, lemon, dates, vanilla, flax, organic seasonal berries, chia, hemp, house granola and organic apple
  • Cauliflower Tahini—organic quinoa, housemade hummus, roasted cauliflower, za’atar salsa, carrots, cabbage, beets, mint, pomegranate, organic greens, radish, sesame seeds, seed flatbread and lemon tahini sauce
  • K&K Paleo—roasted yam, baked hemp and sunflower balls, housemade sauerkraut, fennel slaw, organic cucumber, organic arugula, organic kale, purple cabbage, organic sprouts, carrots, sesame seeds, lemon tahini sauce and horseradish chimichurri

Village Ice Cream

Instagram: 16,600 followers | Facebook: 4,375 likes | Twitter: 7,188 followers
Locations: 3 (Calgary)

Concept characteristics:

  • Artisanal, small-batch ice cream that is hand-crafted, batch by batch, in Calgary
  • Uses local and seasonal ingredients, as well as organic when possible
  • Fits into continued hand-crafted ice cream trend
  • Buzz surrounding the concept; oftentimes a lengthy, but quick-moving line

Menu snapshot:

  • Permanent Flavours—10 permanent ice cream flavours, such as Cardamom, Earl Grey Tea, Phil & Sebastian Coffee, Maple Pecan and Toasted Coconut
  • Seasonal Varieties—rotating seasonal options like Oaxacan Chili Coconut Milk, Hibiscus Sorbet, Bourbon Eggnog, Malt Banana Oreo and Spiced Pumpkin
  • Ice Cream Sandwiches—guests can order ice cream sandwiches made with Salted Caramel, Village Vanilla Bean, Toasted Coconut and Melted Sugar flavours

Cartems Donuterie

Instagram: 16,900 followers | Facebook: 6,908 likes | Twitter: 6,110 followers
Locations: 3 (Vancouver)

Concept characteristics:

  • Doughnuts are handmade from scratch by skilled pastry chefs without the use of pre-mix, stabilizers or preservatives
  • Selection of gluten-free and vegan doughnuts also sold
  • Partners with local breweries to create beer-inspired doughnut flavours
  • Has a neighborhood presence with events like open mic, brewery pop-ups and family story time

Menu snapshot:

  • Doughnuts in varieties like Earl Grey, Maple Smoked Walnut, Cream Soda, Pink Lemonade and Beer Braised Brisket
  • Coffee from Vancouver’s three-unit Elysian Coffee
  • Some locations sell ice cream by the scoop, produced by Vancouver-based Earnest Ice Cream

About the author:

Kristin Menas is the Associate Editor, Canada & Adult Beverage at Technomic Inc. in Chicago. Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry. For more information, visit