Introducing: Ruby Eats, Lynn Crawford and Cherie Stinson’s new gourmet food shop
March 2010 saw the opening of Ruby Watchco, a new Riverside venture by Restaurant Makeover duo chef Lynn Crawford and designer Cherie Stinson (who also works at Yabu Pushelberg). Two weeks ago, the same team opened their newest venture, Ruby Eats, a new neighbourhood specialty grocery store.
Located on the corner of Queen Street East and Grant Street, steps from Ruby Watchco, Ruby Eats is meant to feel like “stepping into the chef’s pantry,” says Stinson. Indeed, you can find the same ingredients and products used at the restaurant on the shelves. The store offers fresh, seasonal produce and cheeses from local farms and 100km Foods. There are also other specialty products like olive oils, vinegars and sauces; a small selection of food books; Le Creuset merchandise; kitchen gadgets; and a special Ruby Eats line. The homemade products include jams and marmalades ($6-7), truffle honey ($8), flavoured salts ($5), infused caramels (Ruby Watchco chef Lora Kirk’s bacon-infused caramel, $10, is particularly eye-catching), marinades and candied olives ($9), which are roasted for 20 hours in maple syrup and olive oil.
Stinson’s design takes inspiration from European-style kitchens to create a warm, inviting space for locals to browse, complete with homemade products in mason jars, a classic tin ceiling with a rotating fan and large glass apothecary jars filled with bulk spice blends. Saturday and Sunday afternoons feature kitchen demos of seasonal dishes (last week’s was a summer corn succotash). For hungry visitors dropping in, there’s a small selection of take-away foods, coffee, baked goods (Nanaimo bars, $3.50, at the time of our visit) and drinks like homemade lemonade ($3)—plus the requisite stools to watch passersby on Queen Street East.
Ruby Eats, 742 Queen St. E., 416-901-3355, www.rubyeats.com.