Bonnick's West Indian Grocery
Bonnick's West Indian Grocery is open for takeout and delivery. There are floor markers and hand sanitizer at the entrance and counter. Masks are mandatory.
Bonnick's West Indian Grocery in Toronto is where you can find all the Caribbean food staples under one roof.
The shelves are fully stocked with fresh fish and meats, exotic fruits and produce and otherwise hard-to-find snacks, while hot meals are at the ready depending on the day of the week.
Situated just west of Little Jamaica at Weston Road and Jane, the store is owned by Jodiann Bonnick, a fresh-faced 31-year-old.
Although this is be her first grocery business, she's no stranger to owning and running a store. Pure Glam, the nail salon in the same street plaza just a few steps away, is also hers.
She jumped at the opportunity to open a grocery store in the building next door on the assumption that food is something that will always be in high demand, especially food that's often hard to come by.
It's best to do your shopping on Thursdays, Fridays or Saturdays, as this is when the hot meals will be available.
Everything is prepared fresh right here. With access to all of the freshest meats, produce and seasonings, it's not hard for them to whip up a good meal.
There's tender oxtail (large: $15) and curry goat, which is best served with their white rice and some slaw (small: $9, large: $12.50).
The jerk chicken comes at a pretty competitive price (small: $7, large: $10). Get it with rice and beans and some fresh, steamed vegetables to complete the meal. With a Scoville level that's just right and meat that's notably succulent, I'd say it's worth another visit.
What's really great is you can add a full piece of jerk chicken (a decent-sized thigh and leg) to the side of any meal for just $2.
You won't come up short on options to wash your meal down as the store has a full aisle's worth of sips, including numerous flavours of Ting, Bigga and Island Soda.
Besides all of the options in bottles and cans, Bonnick's has a large number of syrups so that you can make weeks' worth of your favourite drinks at home. The fastest seller has to be the Kola Champagne, a famed cream soda-like drink flavour that got its start in Puerto Rico.
The produce section is loaded with fruits. For mangos alone, there's Julie, sugar and East Indian, which is sweet like candy and pricier than other mangos due to how difficult it is to get both here and in Jamaica.
Nearly 10 different types of yams are also available, including Jamaican Coco yam, the African Ghana yam and their most popular, yellow yam. No Caribbean kitchen is complete without a yam.
Another impressive feature of the grocery store is the extensive meat section.
Here you'll be able to find cow's feet, goat, mutton (sheep), chicken neck and chicken feet. Many customers head here on Saturdays for the fresh chicken feet after putting a few Jamaican pumpkins in their cart for a homemade soup.
Other meats like bone-in and boneless beef, oxtail and pork sit in buckets of brine, which adds to the flavour while also helping to preserve the meat. Grab what you like in a plastic bag and bring it to be weighed and priced at the counter.
Just past the meat section, you'll find a variety of freshly caught fish on ice including a lane snapper, found primarily in the Caribbean Sea, red snapper, kingfish and parrotfish, named for its vibrant colours that are similar to that of the bird.
They make sure to get their fish three times a week so it'll always be fresh no matter what day you visit.
Bonnick also provides fish, meat, produce and seasonings to a few local Caribbean restaurants including Celebrity Chef, just up the street on Weston, and Taste Seduction, a bit south at Keele and Dundas St. West.
Whatever you're in the market for, Bonnick's West Indian Grocery should have it. Just make sure to not forget to pick up a box of jerk chicken on your way out the door.