10 Mar 2017
- Last Updated on 10 March 2017
- Written by Erik van der Torre
Originally published in the March 2017 OSCAR.
When we moved to Ottawa in 2009, the Fresh Fruit Company had already closed. But having lived in a walkable neighbourhood in Vancouver, we knew how great it is to have a neighbourhood grocery store. So when Cedars & Co. Food Market opened its doors in 2010, we were more than delighted.
Since its opening, Cedars has gone through a few minor and major transformations, and I was very excited to learn about the next evolution that’s about to take place in the restaurant section.
Restaurant Seating and Menu Expansion
During the month of February 2017, Cedars will undergo a small renovation that will primarily target the restaurant section. The changes at the restaurant are twofold. The renovation itself will involve the seating area, and once complete will add several tables to sit down and eat your lunch or dinner.
The second change will be happening behind the counter, in the form of a slightly expanded menu. While the current offerings of shawarma, falafel, and all its sides will remain (phew!), Cedars is planning to add a few dishes like poutine (made with St. Albert curds), fish & chips, etc. In addition, they will also be expanding the salad bar offerings.
And as if that’s not enough, Cedars’ in house chef – Julian – will also start creating take-home meals, meaning there will be lots of options to chose from on busy, overscheduled nights.
Part of the reason why we love Cedars so much is their ability and willingness to cater to their customers. While we try not to get swept up in food fads or the most recent do’s and don’ts, we do try to eat balanced and healthy. And we find that the majority of our daily grocery needs are easily filled at Cedars.
Right from the beginning, Cedars has had a great selection of local foods, organic foods, non-GMO foods etc. And if you are ever looking for something specific, manager Marilyn and her staff are always happy to help out, whether it is to find something within its current selection or by placing a special order.
One of the things I find truly amazing is how efficient they are with their space. What store of their size can claim to have such a comprehensive selection of a wide variety of different cuisines? In the mood for tacos or fajitas? No problem, their Latin food section has you covered. More in the mood for Asian flavours? Same. Middle Eastern? Yup. Simple meat & potatoes? Well, duh (pro tip: check out the frozen section where they have a great selection of frozen meats, fish, etc).
And if you’re a bit low on time to cook a full meal on a particular day? In addition to the restaurant section options mentioned above, Cedars also has a great selection of fresh, simple, ready to go items such as sauces, salsa, guacamole, kimchi, pesto, etc. as well as range of premade food items, including one of our favourites: samosas. The delicious baked vegetable and chicken samosas have now become a regular lunch item for our kids to bring to school.
An exciting new addition to the frozen section is a large selection of ready-made meals and sides by the Fraser brothers, known for Fraser Café and the Rowan.
What truly sets Cedars apart from other, larger grocery stores in our area is their commitment to the community. Through his pub – O’Brien’s Eatery and Pub at 1145 Heron Road – owner Brian Mahmoud has supported numerous community events and initiatives, and over the years they have sponsored a large number of kids sports teams.
Similarly, Cedars has donated items to pretty much every OOS community event. And as many might remember, Cedars were among the biggest supporters of the Every Leaf Counts campaign to build a new Hopewell School primary yard, donating a total of over $7,000!
In addition to Cedars on Bank and the aforementioned O’Brien’s Pub and Eatery, Brian and Marilyn also operate a second Cedars & Co. Food Market at 1793 Kilborn Ave. and recently opened Lebanese Palace | Fine Cuisine at 919 Industrial Ave. Lebanese Palace has a takeout Shawarma counter similar to Cedars, but also has a sit-down restaurant section to sample Lebanese cuisine in a fine dining setting.
All in all, lots and lots of reasons for us to continue to love our community grocery store and eatery.
Erik van der Torre has lived in Old Ottawa South for over 7 years. He recently joined the OSCA board and is an active member on Hopewell Avenue PS’s parent council.