The Pink Grapefruit is a brand new cafe/market specializing in ready to eat meals servicing Queen East near Church. While the previous occupant doled out medical marijuana (CALM), the new occupant serves up gourmet munchies, coffee and prepared meals for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
The sparse interior features warm exposed brick and white walls, allowing the ornately framed menu chalkboards to take centre stage. While the restaurant currently only has a mini shelf and two chairs, plans are in place for seating for up to 10, adhering to city bylaws for establishments with no bathrooms (don't worry, Moss Park is nearby).
Owner and Chef Tatiana Shabotynsky (formerly of George and Auberge du Pommier) has thoughtfully curated a number of pantry goods (think crackers, sauces and dips) to accompany her deli case of mains, paninis and gourmet sides. For those with little time, there's a second open display case that offers an excellent selection of pre-packaged sandwiches from $4.50 and up, like chunky egg and arugula salad or roast chicken, avocado and tomato aioli, or for the low-carb option, grab and go salads starting at $4.50.
Breakfast comes in many variations, including the popular Egg Cup ($1.40) for a single egg (or a scrambled western omelette) and wilted spinach stuffed into a toast or ham shell. Muffins are fresh baked, with rotating flavours for $2.00.
We slid into the front area and dove into our picnic worthy meal; Pesto Chicken with two sides ($12.50), a satisfying combo of mashed sweet potato, chick pea salad and a solid garlicky chicken breast. While the food is meant to be taken home to heat up, we bucked the trend and devoured it cold. The side of chick peas, cucumbers and red onion was tangy with fresh chopped parsley and a squeeze of lemon.
The addictive Augusta Ave Mexican salad ($6.50) is an ample portion of mixed lettuces, black beans, corn, diced red pepper, cherry tomatoes and cooked chunks of sweet potato. The accompanying salad dressing was absolutely chuggable; a zesty lemon vinaigrette tinged with fresh herbs and salt and pepper.
Intelligentsia coffee from Chicago paired nicely with our Zucchini square ($2.50), a dense brick of moist cake with walnuts and sweet cream cheese icing.
While only entering its second week, The Pink Grapefruit is off to a great start. The staff are friendly and excited, eager to explain the menu items in great detail and engage feedback from customers. With a few gluten free options and many more in the works, The Pink Grapefruit fills a void in this fast food dominated corridor.