A breakdown of Toronto-based grocery delivery services

A breakdown of Toronto-based grocery delivery services

How to get everything from fresh produce to fresh croissants delivered to your doorstep

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It wasn’t too long ago that having groceries delivered to your door was a luxury, not an essential service, and there were only a few big-name companies leading the grocery-delivery game. Now, with more and more people staying home and ordering in, a whole bunch of other Toronto-based brands have stepped up to help flatten the curve by bringing everything—from produce and pantry essentials to artisanal cheese and freshly baked croissants—right to you.

Chantecler Boucherie

It’s been a helluva year for Jacob Wharton-Shukster. First, he opened his own butcher shop. Then, a few weeks later, his beloved Parkdale bistro, Chantecler, burned down. Not one to be down and out, Wharton-Shukster then opened pop-up restaurant Le Phenix, just six weeks before the pandemic hit. Now, both Le Phenix and Chantecler Boucherie are 100-per-cent delivery based. The butcher shop is bringing in excellent Ontario-raised chicken and pork, and house-aging their own beef. Chantecler Boucherie also carries excellent preserves, butter and eggs. Currently, you’ll have to call and a butcher will walk you through the day’s selection, which includes more than just meat (they’re working on a new website, though). restaurantchantecler.com


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Cheese Boutique

It can take a while to get through when calling Cheese Boutique, but don’t let the busy signal deter you. Once you get one of the (somehow still chipper!) grocers on the line, they’ll verbally walk you through the store’s selection. Toronto chefs might pilgrimage here for fancy cheeses, imported butters and specialty charcuterie items, but Cheese Boutique also carries just about everything Loblaws would have—their selection’s just fancier. Their snack game is also one of the best in town. Tip: tell your personal CB shopper whether you’re suffering from a savoury hankering or a sweet tooth and let them surprise you. Free delivery, with current wait times of three days. $50 minimum. cheeseboutique.com


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Cheese Magic

This Kensington cheesemonger is offering free delivery on orders over $25. They’ve posted their product list online, which is organized by type (gouda, cheddar, blue, ricotta) and country (Italy, Canada, Swiss, Spanish). You can order more than just comforting cheese, though—they also sell everything you’d need to build an impressive charcuterie spread including cured meats (spicy Genoa salami, Mennonite summer sausage), crackers, olives, mustards, dips (hummus, tzatziki) and cured meats. They also carry other tasty pantry items like honey, smoked salmon, sour cream, kefir and eggs. Deliveries take place on Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. cheesemagic.ca


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Chefs Catering

This 46-year-old family-run catering outfit has adapted to serve the house-bound world. They’re offering restaurant-quality ingredients, including premium beef cuts like filet mignon and wagyu, typically served at some of the city’s best restaurants. Their produce comes in a pre-assembled box loaded with asparagus, peppers, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and broccoli, alongside all the basics (onions, carrots, etc.). They’re also offering a $315 pre-designed meat-and-veggie option that will feed a family of four for a week and a half. Free delivery. chefscatering.ca


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This Latin American grocery-on-demand service has expanded their services to Canada. Their shoppers will brave big box stores (Walmart, Costco) and chain grocery stores (Organic Garage, Metro, Longos), alongside local specialty shops including De La Mer, Dufflet, Yam Chops, Harbord Bakery, Greenhouse Juice and Pet Smart. Orders under $40 are delivered for $9.90 (but the average customer pays about $6.90 for delivery) and Cornershop charges an additional service charge. In the before times, customers could choose a delivery time, but these days, snagging your desired slot takes repeated refreshing. cornershop.ca

Country Boys Produce

Pre-pandemic, this produce wholesaler dealt strictly with restaurants. Now, they’re offering their next-day veggie deliveries to people’s homes. Their selection includes fresh herbs (mint, dill, thyme, cilantro, basil), citrus (limes, lemons, grapefruits, oranges), tropical fruit (kiwis, pineapples, mangos), and an expansive selection of veggies, including radicchio, asparagus, sweet corn, oyster mushrooms, fennel and leeks. Minimum order of $35, no delivery fees. countryboysproduce.com


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Easy Peasy Grocery Delivery

Before the pandemic, siblings Felicia and Jamie Somerton were busy running their eponymous design studio. When their workflow dried up, they decided to launch a grocery delivery kit service. Right now, they only have a single option on offer called the Fresh Essentials Kit. The $70, 35-pound box of food comes with fruit (apples, bananas), veggies (onions, carrots, cucumbers, mushrooms, potatoes, peppers, broccoli), eggs, pasta, bread and rice. There’s also a gluten-free option available. Delivery is free and guaranteed within 48 hours. eateasypeasy.com


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Elle Cuisine Market

After losing over $1 million in sales over a 72-hour period, caterer Lauren Mozer knew that if her business was going to survive, it needed to evolve. She launched Elle Cuisine Market, which offers catered dinners alongside prepared foods like lamb tourtière and fresh pasta, as well as cooked proteins (citrus-roasted salmon, blackened flank steak) and raw ones (marinated spatchcocked chickens, dry-aged steaks, steelhead salmon and humungous scallops). When ordering, customers can also submit their grocery lists (including booze), and the Elle Cuisine team will do their darnedest to fill the order. You won’t receive grocery-store brands—Mozer is using her restaurant supplier connections. That means they’re vac-packing the meat at their catering facility and portioning things like grains in Mason jars. Delivery is free for orders over $300 (otherwise, a $25-$50 charge applies based on distance) and takes up to three days. ellecuisine.ca


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Finesse Finish

This student-run house-painting company asked its employees to put down their brushes and pick up groceries, instead. Customers fill out a form detailing the product, quantity and preferred brand, and the student shoppers do their best to retrieve everything on the list. Prior to delivery, a receipt is forwarded to you while the groceries are being packed and sanitized. The founder of the company, Vincent Nguyen (who founded Finesse Finish while he was a student), isn’t pocketing any delivery-fee profits—they’re instead being funnelled to drivers and used to subsidize senior discounts. Payment by e-transfer or cash is due upon delivery, but to minimize contact no change will be provided. Deliveries start at $35. finessefinish.com


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Fresh City Farms

Fresh City Farms offers online shoppers a large catalogue of organic, small-batch, artisanal or local suppliers such as St. Urbain bagels, Alchemy Pickle kombuchas, Ying Ying tofu, Evelyn’s Crackers and Lee’s Ghee. There’s a $27 minimum order, plus a delivery fee of $3 to $3.50 that’s waived for orders of $75 and up. Delivery days vary by neighbourhood. Note: Fresh City Farms isn’t currently accepting new customers, but there’s a waitlist you can join. freshcityfarms.com


Currently, there are a dozen Asian grocery stores—including Lucky Moose, Nations, H Mart and Pacific Fresh Food Market—on this Markham-based app, which offers same-day delivery. Before you begin ordering, it will prompt you to input a postal code as your geographic location limits which stores you can shop from. At checkout, select delivery and cross your fingers that a slot is available. Slots fill up quickly, so try ordering first thing in the morning. $7.99 delivery charge, $15 during peak hours (weekends). gocery.ca


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GoJava Grocery

Office towers were GoJava’s bread and butter up until a couple of weeks ago, as they were primarily focused on delivering coffee and snacks to corporate meetings. Now, GoJava’s selling actual bread and butter through their new grocery service, which promises next-day delivery on orders placed before 4 p.m. Their selection isn’t expansive, but it’s well-rounded with a balance of everyday items and gourmet specialty foods like Speducci Mercatto cacciatore, Mountain Oak aged Dutch gouda and Emerald Grasslands butter. They also have a few prepared meals from Brothers Butcher Shoppe (lasagna, chili) and Village Juicery (various salads, chia pudding). A delivery fee of $5-$10 is tacked on to every order. gojavagrocery.ca


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Grocery Gateway

Longo’s online shopping platform only lets you browse their aisles virtually. There’s a $50 minimum order, plus a delivery fee that starts at $7.99. Like many delivery services, getting a desired time slot can seem nearly impossible right now, but Grocery Gateway releases new ones every morning. grocerygateway.com


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Grow Gather & Co.

This new delivery service, born out of pandemic times, was created to support local farmers and suppliers who would typically sell their goods to restaurants. That means their fancy food baskets include stuff from places like Famiglia Baldassarre (fresh pasta), Chantecler Boucherie (artisanal meats), Eby Manor (farm-fresh milk), Propeller (coffee) and Tasso Baking (some of the city’s best croissants). Choose a pre-built one (the small basket for $100 includes enough good food to feed two to three people for just as many days) or design your own. Note: due to overwhelming demand, there’s a bit of a backlog right now, which means you may have to wait up to five days for your order. growgatherandco.com


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Seafood shop owners Kristin and Dan Donovan are asking customers to shoot them an email to customers@hookedinc.ca, and they promise to give you a ring back within a day. One of their knowledgable fishmongers will walk you through that day’s selection of prepared foods (gefilte fish, salmon rillettes, crab cakes) and raw seafoods (spot prawns, Pacific halibut, manila clams, rockfish). Free delivery for orders over $50. hookedinc.ca


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This online shopping platform sends personal shoppers to big chains (FreshCo, Walmart, Metro, Costco), boutique grocers (McEwan, Summerhill Market, Bruno’s) and pharmacies (Rexall). They’ll also nab you a bottle of your favourite blend from the LCBO or a six-pack of something from the Beer Store. The good: Inabuggy lets you put items from multiple stores into the same delivery. The bad: you pay for the convenience—it’s $19.99 for the first store, plus another $9.99 for every additional one they have to go to. inabuggy.com


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The sudden surge in demand for Instacart’s services has made it almost impossible to snag a delivery slot for items from Loblaws, Pusateri’s, Eataly, Bulk Barn and Walmart. (Apparently, placing your order around 4 a.m. is the trick.) Delivery fee varies by order size and delivery time; there’s also an additional service charge slapped onto each order. instacart.ca


Last year, Middle Eastern grocery store Iqbal launched an online shop specializing in one thing: halal meats. Since the pandemic was declared, people have been hungry for their modestly priced chicken, veal, lamb and beef. As a result, they’ve been so overwhelmed that they’re now closing their online store for days at a time. Luckily, they post the next date that they plan to take orders, so you’ll know when to try again. Hopefully, they’ll sort the kinks out soon, as their parent company is working to launch a full online store in the coming weeks. Delivery costs vary, charges depend on distance from the shop. labbaik.ca


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Mama Earth Organics

This organic subscription service might be best known for their purple tubs of produce, but they do more than deliver veggies. And there’s no pressure to commit—they take one-off orders and offer customers the option of building their own bundles, too. The best deal are the pre-composed baskets, which come in a variety of sizes and permutations (local-only products, fruit only, fruit and veg, veg only, etc.). However, they also offer prepared foods (cioppino, lobster mac and cheese, vegan pierogies), as well as high-quality meat, seafood, dairy products, baked goods and even flower seeds. Due to a surge in demand, they’ve temporarily stopped accepting new customers, but are working toward opening up to the public again soon. Free delivery. mamaearth.ca


McEwan’s is now offering next-day grocery delivery. Although they don’t have an easy-to-browse site, their grocers will happily take down your order over the phone and walk you through the available options. If you prefer digital browsing, McEwan’s is also on Inabuggy (which currently a 10-day backlog) so you can scroll though their offerings there before calling. Many Bay Streeters think of McEwan’s as a lunch spot. Their prepared food game is strong (that butter chicken!) but don’t dismiss their groceries. Fresh produce, top quality meat (much of it pasture raised on small farms), and decadent baked goods are on offer alongside an excellent selection of fancy snacks, including chocolate-covered coffee beans, maple waffle cookies and kale chips. Delivery charge is $20 for orders under $200 (go over that, delivery is free). Delivery is also free for seniors. mcewangroup.ca/grocery

Mexican Collective Store

When Erika Araujo’s catering company Ixiim saw business dry up in the middle of March, the Mexican chef decided to pivot and began selling groceries. The selection changes weekly, but expect budget-friendly prices for high-quality Mexican cheeses (Oaxaca, panela), chilies (guajillo, pasilla, arbol), canned goods (salsa, pickled jalapeños, nopal) and produce (poblano peppers,
tomatillios). For the best value, opt for one of their weekly boxes, which come in two sizes: small ($40) and large ($60). These boxes come crammed with fruits, veggies and a mix of different pantry items like maple syrup, honey, beans and rice. $15 delivery fee. mexican-collective-store.square.site

Mr. Case

In the early ’80s, before CostCo was a fixture, Mr. Case was out there offering wholesale prices to everyday people. The company began as a door-to-door sales operation that sold groceries by the case, but has since expanded. Today, it’s best-known for supplying offices (they carry everything from portable hard drives and printer paper to BandAids and garbage bags). They also have an impressive grocery selection of some 10,000-plus items. There’s one hiccup, though: most of the groceries are only available in bulk (hence the company’s name). Although you might not need 12 cucumbers or a three-kilo round of blue cheese, if you’re purchasing for multiple households, divvying up the order is a viable option. $20 delivery fee for orders under $75, $10 for orders over $75. mrcase.com

My Grocereze

When Wendy Mackinnon and her son, Spencer Keith, saw that grocery delivery services were unable to keep up with demand (some platforms are taking upwards of two weeks to deliver), they decided to get into the biz. They’re offering two models: pre-assembled grocery baskets and a la carte shopping. The ready-to-go baskets are category focused: just meat, produce, dairy, or snack foods. For pickier shoppers, they have a list of seven-dozen items to choose from. There are all the basics (yogurt, milk, cereal, eggs) as well as some not-so-basics like Beyond Beef burgers, Keurig coffee pods, chai tea and pomegranates. mygrocereze.com


Restaurant group O&B (Canoe, Maison Selby, Liberty Commons, Parcheggio) is now delivering groceries. Their easy-to-browse website offers staples like canola oil, pasta, flour, eggs, milk, cream, high-quality proteins (beef tenderloin, halibut) as well as fresh produce including apples, citrus, tomatoes, bananas, onions (no exotic fruit or foraged mushrooms, though). There are oven-ready items from O&B restaurants, too: empanadas from Lena, tourtiere from Bannock and Parcheggio’s lasagna. You can also throw beer, wine and booze into your virtual basket. Alcoholic offerings include LCBO standards (Campari, Aperol, Johnnie Walker) alongside O&B’s own beer from Big Rock and specialty spirits made in collaboration with Dillon’s Distillery. Deliveries are made on Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and although there is no delivery fee, a minimum purchase of $150 is required. oliverbonacini.com/grocery-delivery/

Pasquale Brothers

Pasquale Brothers is a fourth-generation Italian speciality shop known for their excellent cheeses, cured meats and hard-to-find imported olive oils. Their online shop is stocked with things like paella rice, 12-year-aged balsamic vinegars, dried porcini mushrooms, double-zero flour, Italian-imported cans of San Marzano tomatoes, jamon Iberico, and a plethora of cheeses including Machego, Grueyer and Cabra Vino. Also on offer: a $50 cheese and charcuterie box that comes with crackers, olives, and Spanish potato chips. $10 delivery fee. pasqualebros.com


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Runner started as way to get LCBO products delivered to your door in under two hours. The platform has expanded its offerings to include pet essentials as well as fancy snacks (Squish candies and organic tortilla chips), organic baby food, Advil and even toilet paper. A flat $10 order fee applies with no minimums or maximums. getrunner.io


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T&T Supermarket

Toronto’s popular Asian supermarket chain has launched an online store selling only non-perishable goods. Items on offer include everything from peanut oil and canned quail eggs to bulgogi sauce and fancy rice varieties like black jasmine and sushi-grade grains. Their selection of instant noodles is particularly impressive. Kitchen gadgets—including rice cookers and steamer baskets—can also be tacked onto an order, along with laundry detergent. Shipping starts at $7 for orders under 20 pounds. Note that delivery times aren’t guaranteed—expect your order to arrive within one to two weeks. tntsupermarket.com


After you download this app to your phone, it uses your GPS coordinates to connect you with nearby specialty grocers. The initial premise behind the app was to connect smaller Indian, South Asian, Middle Eastern, halal and vegetarian shops with a broader audience. Currently, Heeva Fine Foods, Super Tehran and Bismillah Grocers are on the app, which is offering free delivery through April. tasteport.com


This mini Portuguese grocery chain—they have two locations, one downtown and one in Mississauga—has started offering delivery. Their meat game is strong, and they sometimes carry hard-to-find Brazilian cuts like picanha, a fat-capped cut that’s perfect for grilling. Tavora also has an impressive fish counter, which is stocked with fish popular in Portuguese cooking (think cod, seabass, squid). Their produce selection is extremely fresh, as they send someone to the food terminal every morning to buy up the tastiest looking veggies. Their website doesn’t have shopping functionality, but orders can be done over the phone or by e-mail. $100 delivery minimum, $10 delivery charge. tavora.ca/home-delivery