Vegan restaurant moves to new downtown location

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There’s a new option for locals looking to try a new style of cooking as Plant Based Marche officially opened in downtown Timmins on Monday.

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Located at 175 Third Ave., it’s a continuation of a plan that began with a vegan restaurant – Northern Lights Fauxmagerie, which was located on Cedar Street South.

“It’s miraculous,” said owner Rocsi Carr. “We are really happy here. It’s just a dream come true. It’s very fulfilling.

A brief ceremony was held in the early afternoon during which the team received various gifts and certificates from the City of Timmins, the Downtown Timmins Business Improvement Association, the Timmins Chamber of Commerce, as well as constituency offices of MP Charlie Angus, and MPP Gilles Bisson.

Plant Based Marche is described by Carr as a “plant-based lifestyle” store. A wide selection of plant-based and vegan groceries are available in addition to homemade food.

“We keep getting new products every week, and we just listen to customer requests, what they like, and find out what the requests are. For example, many people ask for Keto-friendly items, sugar-free or gluten-free items. We try to have something for everyone,” said Sophie Castonguay.

Of course, their popular plant-based cheese that made them locally known from summer 2019 is available and will continue to be made on site in their now much larger and optimized kitchen space.

Carr said renovations and a lot of hard work have been going on since they first got the keys Dec. 20. Their commercial refrigerators and freezers have just arrived.

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They now have much more space and a much more comfortable environment.

“The other place was so small we couldn’t fit all that stuff in there. We started looking for a place where we could do both,” she said.

They also offer products from local small businesses such as fresh produce from Borealis Fresh Farms and Tresor Kombucha beverages.

“We try to steer clear of products that are already in grocery stores,” Carr said. “We also strive to keep prices low.”

She expressed her gratitude for the local mentors and guidance, as well as the funding received through the Venture Center, which helped them make this new store a reality.

When Carr first moved to Timmins, she did so because she wanted to spend time in nature and with animals. Eventually, she decided she wanted to learn how to make plant-based cheese.

“I signed up for the course, and it was a very intense course. It took me about a year, but I graduated, and that’s how it was born.

Plant Based Marche is its own brand and will offer Northern Lights Fauxmagerie products. Carr said there will be clothes coming in the spring.

In addition to food, a selection of hygiene and beauty products are available, as well as cookbooks.

“I think it’s time for that in Timmins. We now have access to thousands and thousands of products.

Both Carr and Castonguay said they heard many encouraging words from locals who may have been disappointed by the closure of the first incarnation of the business.

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“We get a lot of people saying ‘thank you for staying,'” Castonguay said.

They also have a website – plantbasedmarche.com – where people can order. They ship all over Canada, for those who may not be in Timmins.

“Now I can pay the girls a living wage, which is very important to me. We all have advantages now. I wanted to make sure my business had all of that, and I want to make sure all of my staff are taken care of and have healthy minds and bodies,” Carr said.

For those looking to enter the world of plant-based foods, there are some highly recommended products to try first, including vegan butter and a breakfast classic.

“For someone who has never had herbal plants, we suggest you start with this bacon.”

Each week, 3 main courses are offered as take-out meals, and there are always fresh muffins and breakfast sandwiches.

Soon, Carr said they will be producing up to 200 pounds of cheese a week on site. They are also applying for HACCP accreditation, a food production standards authority, which could open up new opportunities.

Another $70,000 worth of kitchen equipment is on the way

And yes, they will soon be offering a variety of cheese curds.

Current winter hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. The hours will get longer in the summer, and there are already plans for an outdoor patio.

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