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Grocery Stores

Ruby Eats

Posted by Robyn Urback / Posted on August 3, 2011

Ruby Eats TorontoRuby Eats is a new shop of chef secrets. And these aren't just any secrets, mind you. Ruby Eats has the choice cookware, the preferred produce, and the favourite finds of celebrity chef Lynn Crawford, who has appeared on Restaurant Makeover, Iron Chef America, and Pitchin' In on Food Network Canada.

Lynn, who also once occupied the executive chef positions at the Four Seasons in Toronto and New York, decided to open this new space along with business partners Cherie Stinson, Joey Skeir, and Lora Kirk about one year ago, according to Cherie. That was around the time that the team's restaurant, Ruby Watch Co., was up and running, and Lynn wanted to get the ingredients straight to the customers.

Ruby Eats Toronto"Chef Lynn is just so passionate about food," Cherie says when I meet her in Ruby Eats' recently opened shop in Riverside, just a few doors down from the restaurant. "All of the chef's tricks are here."

Ruby Eats TorontoCherie, an interior designer by trade, is also a familiar face on Restaurant Makeover. She designed this space to feel like the inside of a chef's pantry, with faux antique fridge doors on the demonstration island, chalkboard menu boards, and clean wooden cabinetry throughout the shop. The centre of the store is a market of sorts, with baskets of fresh organic green beans ($3.25/lb), locally sourced corn ($5/doz), Spanish onions ($0.99/lb) and more.

Ruby Eats TorontoBut for anyone who has dined at Ruby Watch Co., they know that Chef Lynn's jams, butters, and marinades are certainly one of her specialties. They're all bottles and lovingly placed throughout the store; little jars of apricot jam ($6.99), truffle honey ($7.99), containers of chipotle butter ($2.99) and bottles of herb and mustard steak marinade ($9.99).

Ruby Eats TorontoOf course, someone like myself wouldn't know what to do with a jar of truffle honey--except perhaps cautiously spread it over some toast--but Cherie assures me that Ruby Eats' staff know when and how to best use these ingredients. "We're sort of like food concierges," she says. "We're here to help you generate meals."

Ruby Eats TorontoPart of that help includes live demonstrations at Ruby Eats, often conducted by Chef Lynn herself. Since the shop is still in its infancy, the precise hours of the demonstrations are still being worked out, but they're generally around 4 p.m. during the week, with several during the day on weekends.

Ruby Eats TorontoRuby Eats also offers lots of pastas, canned goods, fresh cheeses, and kitchenware, along with Detour coffee espresso shots ($2.00) and a small assortment of baked goods for snacking. So now that you have all the chef secrets, watch out Food Network Canada?

Ruby Eats TorontoRuby Eats TorontoRuby Eats TorontoPhotos by Jesse Milns

Discussion

28 Comments

Leslieville'r / August 3, 2011 at 12:47 pm
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I was originally excited when this place first started construction...but then i visited on Sunday and was a little dissappointed. Thought it would have more "meat" available (especially given all the window coverings only had pictures of cows, pigs and chickens)...but instead, it's just another (trying to be) high end organic veggie, preservative and utensil shop. I want shops to succeed in my area but I don't see what this is bringing that no one else has already covered.

In addition, both Lynn and Cherie were in the store on Sunday and neither one of them went out of their way to make people feel welcome, at one point they were just standing behind the counter gazing, I nodded to lynn with a smile and she just stared through us...thanks for the welcoming!
JenC / August 3, 2011 at 12:54 pm
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I was also a little disappointed with Ruby Eats, but it's early days yet. There's very little produce available for sale and most of the shelves are taken up by cookware and utensils. There's practically a whole wall taken up by Le Crueset items. The layout is also a bit on the cramped side, put more than half a dozen people in the store and it can be next to impossible to get at any of the goods. I left thinking it was a pretty store, but there wasn't anything I would buy there.
bark / August 3, 2011 at 01:03 pm
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I walk my dog by there.

Hope that was insightful.
Natalie / August 3, 2011 at 01:23 pm
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Alas, what this area needs is a green grocer. Until this hood gets one, a good one, any niche store will be just that - nichey. There are some solid basics that Queen East is missing, and we can't expect Ruby Eats to fill it. It's a store full of stuff to make the basics tasty, but unfortunately... a very limited selection OF the basics.

Time to quit my job and get into the grocery biz....
me / August 3, 2011 at 01:54 pm
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"She designed this space to feel like the inside of a chef's pantry, with"...a flat screen TV?

Seriously, just because you can hang a flat screen TV on the wall, doesn't mean you have to.
Chris replying to a comment from Natalie / August 3, 2011 at 02:06 pm
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Totally agree...Queen East needs one of those no fuss fruit and vegetable shops...i hate having to run to Loblaws just to get some fresh produce.
Keith / August 3, 2011 at 03:16 pm
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Well I agree that the neighborhood does need a no fuss fruit and vegetable shop, the problem remains that very few landlords will tolerate one. Even the cleanest fruit market has issues with pests. If you want fresh fruit and veg, why not support one of the many farmers markets that are around during the week or on the weekend?
Veronica replying to a comment from Chris / August 3, 2011 at 04:15 pm
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Guy's, you have Chinatown east and little India in your neighborhood both offering lots of fresh fruits and veg shops !

how much better can it get ?
Chris replying to a comment from Veronica / August 3, 2011 at 04:21 pm
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Agreed there are shops, I just wish they were closer...I live right off Queen St and make the Queen walk part of my routine with my son...would love if something was closer, that's all I'm saying.

Keith - unfortunately my hours don't accomodate the weekday markets or the new Sunday one.
Sal / August 3, 2011 at 04:51 pm
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Pari, Green Park and Rowe Farms all offer fresh produce in the hood!
Chief Scout / August 3, 2011 at 05:28 pm
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No complaining. At least you have restaurants whereas us poor Beach residents have pubs, pubs and more pubs.
Ripley Slade / August 3, 2011 at 07:36 pm
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I love the shop. The corn was plump and sweet, the green beans were fresh, the lemonade was wicked, and the candied olives were outrageous. The jams and cheeses looked fantastic, which I will go back for. I loved that the t.v. was running The Food Network.
Jason / August 3, 2011 at 10:28 pm
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The flat screen is running the Food Network and even the sign for the limes is branded. WTF? Why does everything have to be an explicit brand? The best brand is simply great quality, great service, especially for a new place. Think Tom's Place for men's suits, Ravi Soups, Ghandi's, Patachou, or The Fish Store.
Anna F. / August 4, 2011 at 12:22 pm
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We need a Sobey's or Rabba in Leslievlle. You know, a store that stays open past 7:00 pm and sells bananas. Rowe Farms sells a limited number of produce, but no bananas (because they aren't local/artisanal, blah-blah-blah).
Just Sayin' / August 4, 2011 at 04:41 pm
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Looks like Whole Foods meets Williams-Sonoma...
BG replying to a comment from Anna F. / August 4, 2011 at 09:51 pm
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Anna F., not that I like shopping there, but Loblaws is open 24HRS now.
JR / August 5, 2011 at 01:15 am
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Meating on Queen at queen and Jones has fresh produce and great meat! Very seldom go to Loblaws anymore.
JR / August 5, 2011 at 01:17 am
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Leslieville Rocks!
roky replying to a comment from Veronica / August 9, 2011 at 06:15 pm
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both those neighbourhoods are filthy
Riverdaler / August 11, 2011 at 04:01 pm
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I agree with a previous comment regarding Cherie not going out of her way to make people feel welcome. She stared through me. No wave or hello! I can understand that opening a store is hard work, but the energy for this new project...should not end there.

While, I love the service at Ruby Watchco...I cannot say the same about Ruby Eats.
jedijuli replying to a comment from Natalie / August 16, 2011 at 11:23 am
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I couldn't agree more - just moved to riverside and it is hard to find a decent grocery store that covers all the basics. It would be great to have a produce store that carries both low and high-end items. The markets on gerrard street do have a lot of produce, but good luck finding anything locally sourced or organic....
Jennifer / August 21, 2011 at 01:25 pm
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Guys - I am shocked at the comments about Ruby Eats lacking friendly service. I go in there at least 3-4 times a week and EVERY SINGLE time I've gone in I am instantly greeted by the young girl behind the cash and both Cherie, Lynn and John are super friendly. I've experienced everything from Lynn literally pulling something off the shelf, opening it and start cooking it in her area to show me something, or Cherie describing a recipe she'd recently tried out, and giving me multiple samples of cheese, eggplant dips, honeys, etc. I LOVE this store and although it does have niche products, everything is full of flavour, reasonably priced, fresh and generally local. I bring every one of my friends who comes to visit to this store and have yet to hear a negative remark. I'd encourage you to try it again and maybe even approach Lynn or Cherie with a question - I am confident that you'll be happy with their answers.
Jennifer / August 21, 2011 at 01:29 pm
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Oh and with regards to a local grocery store with fresh, organic and local choices - the Big Carrot on the Danforth is incredible. Their meats are fantastic and reasonably priced (often on special), they have great gluton-free and organic products including milks, cheeses, breads, sauces, rice, dressings, etc, a great freezer section for things like waffles, dinners, etc and their produce has really improved. The best part is that they are open during the week until 9pm so us office-dwellers can still shop there after work.
Petipas / August 21, 2011 at 08:08 pm
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Hello All
I have to agree with Jennifer. Ruby Eats rock!!! I have shopped there since it opened and everything is so fresh, good quality, and to die for. The sandwiches are great and that deadly caramel bacon spread is sinful!!!!! I keep on buying it for friends and eating it with them :). Cherie, Lynn, Lora, John, and the other staff are great. I have worked in the food industry for years and they have the groove. They are informative and knowledgeable about the items in the store. Hey, how many stores do we all go into and there is no eye contact or knowledge about what they sell....Keep up the great work Ruby Eats !!!!!!
Rocco / August 25, 2011 at 08:59 pm
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Over-designed and understocked... and mis-stocked. What Riverside-dwellers needs is like a Pusateri's on Church. Fine produce, including organics and everything else you need to put together a great meal. This should have been a small fine grocery store, just as Natalie said above. Too bad they missed the mark.
DK / April 13, 2012 at 11:16 am
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Store looks dull and boring...kinda like a Dean & Delucca ripoff.
Aron / July 4, 2013 at 07:37 am
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FAMAZING!!!!!!

Lovely people, they go above and beyond to get you what you're looking for. Having just moved to the neighborhood, they gave me an impromptu taste test of some hot sauces.

Everything is good here, some of what they offer is truly world-class.

Serious hidden gem. Just wow. I'm a regular.
Warren / March 20, 2014 at 03:28 pm
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Deservedly Deadpool

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