Meals on Two Wheels: 8 Toronto businesses that deliver food by bike

Meals on Two Wheels: 8 Toronto businesses that deliver food by bike

Lilly’s Lunches owner Elizabeth Callahan (Image: Karolyne Ellacott)

Businesses that use bicycles for delivery typically fall into two camps. There’s the cycle-utopians who pedal their wares around town as a matter of principle. Then there’s the pragmatists who realize that two wheels are often faster than four when you’re trying to get a fresh pizza to an apartment building six blocks away. Of course, the diners who take advantage of those businesses are usually just happy for the novelty of seeing their dinner arrive on the back of a cargo bike. In honour of the start of cycling season, we present eight Toronto services that dispatch food by bike.

Lilly’s Lunches
After making a name for herself by delivering weekly homemade lunches to downtown cubicle jockeys, Elizabeth (Lilly) Callahan is foregoing her regular deliveries this year in favour of private catering, pop-up tastings and picnics—all delivered via her custom green Pashley.
Coverage: Bloor to Front between Bathurst and Yonge, during the warmer months
Fees: Catering clients can create a customized menu with Callahan, including all fees
Best For: Hungry participants at Toronto Cycle events.

Sweet Lulu
This take-out noodle joint employs some fearsome delivery cyclists—the crew has only once been thwarted by inclement weather in seven years.
Coverage: Year-round delivery, College down to the water, between Spadina and Dufferin (only available from their from the Queen West location; the Bay street location delivers by foot)
Fees: $2 for delivery ($15 minimun order)
Best For: Anyone stuck in the office during dinnertime

Caplansky’s Deli
Zane Caplansky dispatches his smoked meat sandwiches and Jewish soul food by bike because it’s usually the fastest way to get them out of his College Street deli and into his customers’ hands.
Coverage: Year-round delivery, Dupont to King between University and Ossington
Fees: $5 for deliviery ($20 minimum order)
Best For: Smoked meat aficionados and spring-time picnickers

Vert Catering
The “Pickle Cycle”—a deli on wheels—is available for private catered events, where it sets up a station and serves lunches made from local ingredients.
Coverage: Year-round service to downtown buildings
Fees: $8.50 for sandwiches and salads, delivery fee included
Best For: Offices looking to cater a fun staff lunch without increasing their carbon footprint (Vert only uses biodegradable tableware and will remove green garbage)

North of Brooklyn
This tiny pizzeria only has 12 seats, but is happy to send its thin-crust pies out by Bullitt cargo bike seven days a week.
Coverage: South of College between Dufferin and University
Fees: $3 delivery fee (minimum order of one pizza)
Best For: Movie night

Featherstone Two Wheels Green Delivery
Laurie Featherstone ferries local produce to small businesses and eco-conscious shoppers, especially Karma Co-op members and frequenters of the Riverdale, Trinity Bellwoods and The Stop Green Barn Farmers’ Markets.
Coverage: Downtown and midtown Toronto during all seasons (she even has studded tires for particularly nasty weather)
Fees: $2–2.50 per kilometer, with a minimum fee of $10
Best for: Conscientious shoppers hoping to get their organic groceries home without adding to their carbon footprint

Merchants of Green Coffee
Merchants sources organic Arabica beans grown on biodiverse farms, and delivers them green or roasted to cafés, businesses and even individuals.
Coverage: Flexible, depending on the order
Fees: $7, less for nearby stops
Best For: Coffee fanatics looking to source even more sustainably

ChocoSol Traders
This social enterprise makes organic and vegan chocolate (that’s also dairy-, gluten-, soy- and nut-free) and delivers it by bike to cafés, health food shops and farmers’ markets. They even have a bicycle-powered grinder for the cacao beans.
Coverage: From Lawrence to the lake (and even Centre Island), between Woodbine and and Kipling.
Fees: $8 flat rate
Best For: Locavore businesses who like the idea of their customers spotting a cargo bike outside