Good Rebel is Toronto's 100% all-vegan grocery store. Near Dundas and Brock, it's recognizable from the large V in a circle that adorns the white brick front of the building, kind of like the symbol seen on menus and on products in stores.
Owners Mercedes Featherby and Mohseen Akbarali aren't out to make anyone feel bad about the fried chicken sandwich they just ate, but are totally there for you when you want to follow up with something meatless to make for dinner. A lot of products imitate non-vegan process, emphasizing the way you can still enjoy all your favourite flavours as a vegan.
The space is super bright, friendly, comfy and spacious, with lots of room to amble among their intriguing products. There's a sort of recharging area at the front with free water and a cute rocking chair. Little plants dot the store, including ingenious meat grinders made into planters.
Not only are they vegan, but a lot of products are local, too, like this simulated meat that King's Cafe in Kensington serves and also retails. Their chicken leg ($8.25) has an actual bamboo drumstick "bone" inside and a rice paper coating "skin" that tears like it would on a real chicken leg.
They also have a few apparel items to rep their brand, and though they use 100% recycled paper bags, you can also buy one of their cotton totes in a pinch for $6. The "Tofu Vs. Everybody" slogan on their organic cotton tees ($37) is a cheeky nod to the sometimes controversial nature of veganism, kind of like the name Good Rebel itself.
They make grab-and-go options themselves in-house, like the smoothie pictured above and salads and sandwiches that rotate daily. When we visit the salad is an organic grilled chick*n caesar ($4.99) made with organic romaine and an organic cashew dressing, and the sandwich is an "egg" salad on focaccia from Ace Bakery with healthy microgreens ($4.99).
They have a smaller range of home products than groceries, but do carry some essentials like Attitude laundry detergent, as well as vegan condoms (news flash: most condoms aren't vegan) from Glyde ($19.4) and floss that doesn't use beeswax ( Radius , $5.50).
Their epic cheese fridge is entirely filled with vegan cheese from great Ontario brands like Nuts for Cheese from London, Tree Nut Cheeze from Toronto, and BooMoo from Guelph. A tub of BooMoo cheese spread goes for $11.25, and a triangle of "brie" or "chipotle cheddar" from Nuts for Cheese is $13.95.
They even have vegan cheese-making kits for DIYers.
Photos by Jesse Milns