To all the very lucky people of Toronto's Yonge/St.Clair neighbourhood: You should know that the ELLE Canada team is v. jealous of you right now. Why? Well, the lunch spot* of our dreams (and that alas, our office locale currently lacks) just opened up two minutes from your subway station, and if you're not currently there sipping a lavender latte or spearing grilled broccoli onto your fork, you're crazy...or maybe you just don't know about it, since it is only a few weeks old.
Mary Be Kitchen is the brainchild of Sarah Huggins, a self-taught cook and recipe developer who left the law to pursue her passion for the wholesome, uncomplicated food she grew up eating but that she and her investment banker husband didn't have time to prep for their own family. The menu and concept at this light-filled, pastel-hued space is her answer to that problem: It serves up food you recognise (this is a gimmick, Goop-vibes-free zone) in a modern, cool way...that would make any nutritionist award you a gold star. At the same time, it's delicious enough to get the Grandma Seal of Approval: The spot is actually named after Huggins' own grandmother, whose special occasion china platter actually has pride of place on the wall behind the counter.
How you order is a riff on the classic "meat and two sides" diner idea: According to your level of hunger, you can assemble your plate by choosing from a selection of proteins and then a varying number of hot and cold sides, that are all rotated out seasonally. Our picks? The grilled chicken (it's done sous-vide so it's mega-juicy) plus the lentil salad and the onion-kissed roasted cauliflower. Your drink should definitely be either the easy-drinking kombucha on tap or one of their coffees, made with Pilot beans. You'd also be silly not to try the roasted avocado, which was described as "the creme brulee of avocados" and totally not oversold.
As you're leaving, make sure you do two things: Get a snap of the highly 'grammable cabbage rose inspired wallpaper, custom designed for the space, and grab one of the house-made chocolate chip cookies for the road...because that's how we (and Mary Be!) like to do our healthy-eating.
*They're also open for breakfast, dinner and weekend brunch, FYI.